The Opus One Arena: A Reader’s Naming Rights Idea


Is this an ingenious way to make lemonade from this weeks lemons?

Today I read a story in the WSJ titled, “MasterCard Buys Naming Rights To Former Beijing Olympics Arena”. It was just a quick story about MasterCard venturing overseas to invest an unknown amount of money in an 18,000 seat basketball arena, in Beijing. As the title indicates, the one used for the Olympics. It also detailed how rare it is for these kinds of deals to actually go through in China. But the whole story reminded me of and alluded to that nebulous topic of naming rights.

After reading it, I couldn’t help but wonder what the status of our new arena naming rights are. Might we get a big sign and labeling that makes our arena look like it might have a drive through lane? I don’t know. Is a deal already in the works, who knows?

It seems to me that if naming rights are to be beneficial to the sponsor and the city, they need to have almost a symbiotic, natural fit. I couldn’t think of any Anheuser-Busch like business in the Evansville area, that fits with ice hockey. While Indy does have ties to Lucas Oil, I think to some it still rings as somewhat foreign, although it does have a story that relates directly to the Indy 500.

Even though it has a story, not everybody is mechanically inclined to care about oil brands and some don’t have an interest in the 500 historically. Not that I have any problem at all with the Lucas Oil stadium name, I just can’t help but perceive how stadium names sort of define a city and/or give it a character of sorts. No doubt the name has provided a certain awareness of their brand now nation wide.

If I’m heading down the highway and I see a KFC or Taco Bell sign and I’m hungry, I’m looking for the drive through that will monetize my advertisement inspired hunger. However, even lacking the drive through [I joke about], I would guess that the local market share impacts are significant in Louisville.

When I got thinking of what kind of stories we might have going for us, I can’t help from trying to find broad based affairs that seem to catch everyone. Not just sports buffs, not just techies, not just women, not just men, not just teens or movie fanatics, etc.

Then I had an idea. Is it possible that we could lure OPUS to come to Indiana to invest an unknown amount into our Arena?

Here’s my thinking. Maybe there is a way to transform a full blown, community wide furor, into the start of a long term marketing relationship? As subjective proof, I’m not a wine drinker, but I’ve never been more curious what a $250 bottle tastes like in my life. And if I’m curious, I’m guessing, wine drinkers have to be salivating.

Is it possible, the OPUS/Mondavi corporation is willing to invest some of their equity into expanding their customer base in the region? (That is, beyond, our ex-directors of CVB) From a business perspective [partly in jest], they might need to adjust something in their budgets anyway to handle the dim prospects for the 2011, Evansville CVB Christmas party.

Also our recently ousted, local connoisseurs, that might feel the subject of a “witch hunt” could find new equivalent volunteer roles better suited to their abilities and interests, possibly? In all seriousness, we’d need some help soliciting interest here. I can not think of any more intriguing “elevator pitch”, than a quick story about how passion for your product [OPUS] cost me a prominent director post and a bit of a public spectacle culminating in an allegation of a good old fashioned witch hunt! (Granted it’s probably not a laughing matter to these folks now, but sometimes a good dose of self-deprecation goes a long way.) If that story could be turned into a positive is it worth a try?

Plus, this whole fiasco could make one hell of a continuing story, and comic relief especially if it were to linger into naming rights!

Imagine the commercial spot opportunities – [Mayor] Evansville, unlike a fine wine, is a combination of old world wisdom and, at times, ripely “unacceptable” decisions… [display the bill] But, like the Opus wine, we have to learn to perform a “balancing act” to try to create an honest, ethical, inviting atmosphere for all. Right, Mr. Dunn? [Dunn] Cheers. [Abell] By the way, who paid for this bottle? [Dunn] I did! [laughter]

And there my attempt at an opus crescendoed into it’s finale, a fantasy where cooperation and civic duty trumped “politics as usual”. And controversy, in perspective, spawned opportunity.

Dan Effinger
Evansville, IN


  1. Why don’t they put a digital billboard on the side(s) and run a ever-changing display of the various hotels and bars/restaurants so the visitors will know where to go, besides home, after the spectacle at the “Tweenie Weenie Areenie”?

    Another options would be to rent space on the digital billboard to Industrial Contractors, the architects, bond companies, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, concrete, etc., contractors, so anyone considering building such a monstrosity would have a head start in their planning.

    Who in Evansville would be willing to have their name and money associated with something that is as unpopular as Jon’s Folly? What kind of names can anyone come up with except “The Jon”? Maybe the CCO could run a contest with the first prize being a season ticket to Roberts Stadium for ALL events?

Comments are closed.