UPDATE: Lucas brings bowl donations to $25M

A $1 million contribution by Forest Lucas has brought private-sector giving for Indianapolis’ 2012 Super Bowl bid to the $25 million goal.

The owner of Lucas Oil Products Inc. spent $122 million for naming rights to Lucas Oil Stadium, which will replace the RCA Dome at the start of the Indianapolis Colts season this fall.

This morning’s announcement comes as NFL owners prepare to meet on Tuesday to decide which city gets the nod for the 2012 event.

Indianapolis is competing against Phoenix and Houston; last year, Indianapolis and Phoenix were edged out for the 2011 game by a lucrative bid from Dallas.

The private sector also had pledged $25 million for the 2011 effort. Private donations were raised for both bids to impress team owners with civic support and to avoid tapping taxpayer dollars.

Central Indiana Corporate Partnership President Mark Miles, who is heading the 2012 effort for Indianapolis, said about 100 companies and individuals agreed to contribute as much as $2.5 million each. At least two among the handful of individuals who donated are retirees.

Contributors were promised confidentiality, Miles said. However, they are free to make their contributions known if they wish. Contributors are prevented from reaping any economic advantage from the event.

This year’s fund raising was spearheaded by Eli Lilly and Co. CEO John Lechleiter and Kathy Langham, an owner of the Indianapolis warehouse and logistics firm Langham. Last year’s effort, led by then-Capital Improvement Board President Fred Glass, helped lay the foundation for this year’s successful campaign, Miles said.

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