- Associated Press - Friday, April 25, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana State Fair officials are looking for a financial boost from selling the naming rights to the newly renovated Fairgrounds Coliseum.

The 75-year-old arena was known as Pepsi Coliseum from 1991 until the soft-drink company’s contract ended in 2012.

Leaders of the Indiana State Fair Commission are “absolutely talking” with potential sponsors, fairgrounds spokesman Andy Klotz told the Indianapolis Business Journal (http://bit.ly/1rsQDpp ).

Klotz declined to speculate on when a sponsorship deal might be announced, but said it shouldn’t be long.

“We just don’t have a finalized deal to announce yet,” he said.

Pepsi paid $170,000 a year under its old contract. Klotz said the new deal is expected to be more lucrative because of the $63 million renovation project that was opened to the public on Thursday.

The coliseum also will get more exposure as the home for IUPUI’s men’s and women’s basketball teams and the new Indy Fuel minor league hockey team.

“There’s quite a contrast between the old coliseum and the new one,” Klotz said. “There will be a new hockey team with a bigger reach playing there, an NCAA Division I basketball team and more events that will attract national attention.”

The renovation transformed the interior of the arena that once hosted the Beatles and the Indiana Pacers during their ABA days. The main concourse offers natural lighting and a second-floor concessions area allows customers to see inside the arena, which has about 6,200 seats for hockey games and 6,500 seats for basketball games.

Between the sports teams, concerts, conferences and Indiana State Fair events, the facility could be booked 300 days or more a year, Klotz said.

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Information from: Indianapolis Business Journal, http://www.ibj.com