RBC Center gets a new name

jshaffer@newsobserver.comDecember 16, 2011 

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Raleigh's round, white sports complex has just received its third official acronym: the PNC Arena, which replaces the RBC Center, which replaced the ESA.

MEL NATHANSON — N&O File Photo

— Thanks to the alphabet soup of corporate naming rights, Raleigh's round, white sports complex has just received its third official acronym: the PNC Arena, which replaces the RBC Center, which replaced the ESA.

Now, the Carolina Hurricanes and N.C. State Wolfpack will compete inside a building named for a bank based in Pittsburgh rather than a bank with Canada in its name.

Drivers on Wade Avenue could see PNC's orange and white triangle logo - or is it a boomerang? - rather than the familiar blue and yellow lion with its paw on a globe.

The switch comes as PNC Financial Services Group acquires Raleigh-based RBC Bank. Initial approval came from the Centennial Authority, the arena's owner and developer. The 20-year deal is worth $80 million.

The 19,000-seat RBC Center averages 1.5 million guests and 150 events per year - making the name on the outside a giant billboard.

"Naming rights can be the sign of a quote-unquote arrival of a company," said Hill Carrow, CEO of Sports & Marketing Inc, "that they are of a certain quality, or heft."

But naming rights on a stadium can be as fleeting as a championship.

The Carolina Panthers played in Ericsson Stadium until the Swedish telecommunications company decided it was no longer lucrative. And the Houston Astros used to play in Enron Field - and we all remember what happened to Enron.

Shaffer: 919-829-4818

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