Marketing firm hired to find Fairgrounds Coliseum sponsor

Indiana State Fairgrounds officials are seeking a naming-rights sponsor for what had been known for years as the Pepsi Coliseum.
Denver-based Impression Sports & Entertainment announced Tuesday that it’s been retained to secure a naming-rights sponsor for the recently renovated coliseum. Company President Chris Foy told IBJ he hopes to have a deal finalized in the next six months.

"I think this is a real attractive venue," he said. "You're basically looking at a brand-new venue. We feel pretty strongly that this is an amazing platform for the right company."

The coliseum reopened in April following a 22-month, $63-million renovation. The 8,200-seat coliseum will continue to host fair events, in addition to serve as home for the Indy Fuel professional hockey team and IUPUI men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Impression Sports has secured more than $14 million in sponsorship agreements over the past year, it said in a press release.

"Our company specializes in high-profile sponsorship campaigns," Foy said. "We're launching our sales efforts immediately, making phone calls and talking to suitable companies."

Foy thinks that naming rights for the coliseum will be most attractive to a company based in the Indianapolis area, or one that has significant operations in central Indiana.

The Indy Fuel, a minor league affiliate for the Chicago Blackhawks franchise, will open its inaugural season in the arena in mid-October.

The IUPUI Jaguars will play all of their men’s home basketball games and some women’s games beginning this fall under a five-year contract with the fairgrounds.

To many, the fairgrounds facility is best-known as Pepsi Coliseum. The soft drink company acquired the naming rights for what was called the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum in 1991 and kept them until 2012, not long before the renovation was launched.

Pepsi was paying $170,000 per year for the naming rights when the contract ended. The fair commission sought to renew the deal at $500,000 per year, an amount on par with similar-sized arenas in other markets, but Pepsi declined.

Fairgrounds officials thought they were nearing a sponsorship deal earlier this year, but have yet to reach a deal.


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