Old National name to adorn Murat for three years

The century-old Murat Centre will be named the Old National Centre for the next three years.

Event promoter Live Nation on Tuesday put the new name in royal blue lettering above the marquee of the entertainment venue downtown. Evansville-based Old National Bank's name, logo and colors also will be emblazoned on entrance awnings, posters, video screens and even the drink menu behind the bar. And tickets that go on sale later this month will be printed with the new name.

Close to 400,000 people a year walk through the building's doors, said Kelly Ford, director of sponsorship sales for Live Nation in Indianapolis. Live Nation manages the former Murat Centre under a long-term lease. It also manages The Lawn at White River State Park and owns Verizon Wireless Music Center in Noblesville.

Live Nation and Old National executives would not disclose the value of the deal, first reported Monday on IBJ.com. Randy Reichmann, CEO of the bank's Indianapolis region, said he expects the relationship to last longer than the initial three-year contract. The bank is trying to gain market share in Indianapolis since acquiring 65 former Charter One branches a year ago.

"What we're hoping to drive is just more awareness of Old National Bank," Reichmann said.

Although Live Nation has more than 40 title sponsors at venues across the country, Ford said the local management team hasn't aggressively pursued a naming-rights deal. "Knowing this is a historic theater, you want to have the right partner," she said.

Ford said the deal with Old National sprang out of a regular lunch meeting to talk about marketing plans for 2010. The bank is already a sponsor at Verizon Wireless Music Center.

Reichmann, an avid concertgoer, said the relationship with Live Nation has worked well so far. In the past, the bank gave away free ticket vouchers to customers opening new checking accounts. He said he expects to leverage the sponsorship at Old National Centre in a similar fashion. 

The venues inside Old National Centre will retain their original names: Murat Theatre, Egyptian Room, Corinthian Hall, Grand Lobby and Crowne Room. The theater seats 2,500. The capacity of all venues combined is 4,515.

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