With the announcement of the renovations of Rupp Arena, it’s amazing to me that the topic that has generated the most conversation around BBN is not the kind of changes that would be made, or that a new arena is not going to be built, it’s the fact that a corporate name is likely to be attached to the name Rupp Arena. And I get it. Some people are just terrified of change. Change their habits, and they become a wreck. Get rid of the local store in place of a Walmart and it’s the worst move ever. But to me, this is a completely non-issue for a bunch of reasons:
1. WANT IMPROVEMENTS, NEED MONEY
-Above all else, if you want the improvements to Rupp Arena, which are absolutely needed, then the name change is often part of the deal. It’s the way of the world these days. Corporations are happy to help sports franchises with arena buildings, but corporate branding needs to go along. Reports are Rupp’s improvements will be paid for before corporate sponsorships, but college athletics are big business. You have to try and monetize when possible.
2. YOU ALWAYS MUST ADAPT WITH THE MODERN WORLD
-Until Calipari came along, UK was seen nationally as this old, curmudgeonly program with a older fanbase who were passionate about their Cats, but maybe didn’t have the loudest crowd in the world. And frankly, Rupp Arena fit that mold. It was big and was filled for every game. But we all know that the lower bowl can be a bit on the older side and sometimes a little too quiet. But, the arena also LOOKED old. Not a lot inside the building that made it stand out on television. That is going to change now. No doubt some pretty great things are going to change on the inside of the building. Better looking scoreboards, luxury-type boxes, better seats, will all make for a better experience inside the building, but also a better looking arena for television. It’s good for all involved. And to make that experience better, the name needs to change….which leads to the next point:
3. YOU WON’T CARE ONCE YOU SEE IT
-I know we love to give UL fans crap about their arena name, but anybody who has been in that arena will tell you it’s one of the better places to watch a game. And once you are inside, the name of the arena means very little. I strongly doubt that any fan is going to inside Corporate Name Rupp Arena is a few years for a game against North Carolina and say “boy, I’m really excited for this game but I hate that darn name of the arena.” Hell no you’re not going to do that. If this renovations are done correctly and Rupp Arena becomes a great place to watch a game, then name of the arena won’t matter one bit.
4. YOU’LL STILL CALL IT RUPP ARENA
-So what if the official name will be Corporate Name Rupp Arena? Amongst UK fans, the name will always just be Rupp Arena. So in reality, UK is going to rake in the paycheck from whatever business wants it, but the name really won’t change between the fans. And if other fans want to make fun of it, good for them. We make fun of their building names, they can make fun of ours. At the end of the day, we’ll take beating the little shiz out of them on the floor over caring about the name on our building.
If you think Rupp Arena is perfect, then more power to you to complain about the changes on the horizon, including the name change. Me, I think Rupp is due for an overhaul. As someone who lives in Louisville and has been in the Yum! Center many times, I can tell you that UL is beating us in that department right now. And that can’t happen. It is time for UK to adapt and change, and Rupp Arena is a wonderful start. It’s just a name. Give me the product on the court, not the name on the outside.