What’s in a name?
Quite a bit as it turns out. Just ask O’Reilly Auto Parts. Officials for that firm are now insisting that O’Reilly
Raceway Park be called just that.
No ORP. And certainly no IRP, the initials for the old moniker, Indianapolis Raceway Park.
When a company signs a multi-year, multi-million dollar naming rights deal, company officials want to get their money’s
Most have learned that a venue that goes by nicknames and initials doesn’t give their brand the pop it would otherwise.
In 2008, Lucas Oil owner Forrest Lucas made a big fuss about not calling Lucas Oil Stadium “The Luke” or “LOS.”
I thought the request was reasonable, even though some Indianapolis Colts fans thought it was ridiculous.
Either way, the Colts, with Lucas’ money in hand ($121.5 million over 20 years), were only too happy to comply. A groundswell
was bubbling for the name “The Luke,” but the Colts marketing and communications posse did a nice job of killing
that movement, and despite a few national television bobbles in the venue’s first season, Lucas Oil Stadium has stood
the test. And when last we spoke, Forrest Lucas said he was pleased.
The Indiana Pacers never did let Conseco Fieldhouse get a nickname. Though, I’m not sure “CF” or “The
Con” has much of a ring to it. I don’t know, though, maybe “The House” would have worked. Since Conseco
changed its name to CNO Financial Group this year, it’s not clear what the venue will be called in the future.
But the trick may be more difficult for O’Reilly Raceway Park officials than it was for Colts and city officials with
respect to Lucas Oil Stadium or the Pacers with Conseco Fieldhouse.
The IRP brand goes back to the facility’s opening in 1960. In 2006, when O’Reilly signed its multi-year, multi-million
dollar deal, officials at the track on Indianapolis’ west side encouraged the ORP nickname. It seems it was enough for
people not to call it IRP. Finally, after several years, references to ORP seemed to be outnumbering IRP both in the media
and informal conversation.
“We might have made some mistakes,” said O’Reilly Raceway Park spokesman Scott Smith. “But now we’re
getting away from ORP and want to be referred to as O’Reilly Raceway Park in all references.”
People don’t like change, so I expect some resistance to the switch. For people who enjoy sports, and understand how
they’re funded, they should be eager to comply.
So with that I say, RIP ORP. Or, I suppose I should say rest in peace. Long live O’Reilly Raceway Park.