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What’s In A Name for Syracuse Sports?

Since the construction of the Carrier Dome, every major sporting event in Central New York has happened the odd, iconic, Teflon bubble at Syracuse University. From the outset it was a quirky oddity, a building without air conditioning named after an air conditioning company.

It was and still is the only covered football field for a Power 5 program, and at it’s most raucous “The Loud House” is as ear-splitting as anywhere. But now as the university gives the building a facelift, the Carrier part of it is the heart of a financial (and emotional) tug of war. Forty years ago, the school gave Carrier lifetime naming rights. That’s right, in perpetuity. This deal still gives economists and business professors vertigo.

Now that renovations are happening and the Dome is no longer The Dome, so SU is only calling it “The Dome.” Confused? Good. The school wants its naming rights back, to be able to sell to the highest bidder, and who can blame them? Corporate naming rights have been pumping added revenue into schools for years, and even the most ridiculous (usually at Louisville) still create income.

As the Dome becomes a new building the school is saying the deal is off, that Carrier no longer is legally bound to those naming rights. But will this loophole actually work? It’s just renovations, not an entirely new stadium. Does it matter? Four four decades fans in the region have been going to the Carrier Dome, not the Syracuse Dome or the Tully’s Dome or the Wegman’s Dome.

Will fans resent a new name since the old one was so synonymous with SU athletics? Some fans want it to stay the same for nostalgia and familiarity, but the best thing for the programs is it to be on the bidding block. A change in the name would mean an added stream of revenue, and in today’s collegiate sports culture, this is enormous. In the ACC, SU is trying to keep up with public institutions that get breaks from the state governments. North Carolina, NC State, Florida State, Clemson and others are state institutions. SU’s hoops legacy keeps pumping talent into the program, but the football team fell on hard times. Dino Baber’s job at turning things around has been miraculous, but he’ll need added funds to keep the momentum going.

Practice facilities, higher salaries for assistants, better recruiting budgets would all be helped with money from naming rights. Syracuse football has one of the most anticipated seasons in 20 years. Babers has signed an extension, highly touted QB Tommy DeVito takes over, and the program has juice going from last season’s 10-win finish. Just how anticipated?

Consider the Orange have some of the best odds in the country to win the conference, behind only powerhouse Clemson, FSU and Miami. SU has +1600 odds to win the ACC, some of the best they’ve been marked with in decades. For the best sports betting sites you can check in dailyfor the latest viewpoint on where Vegas thinks SU is headed. No matter what, excitement is high, and freedom to sell the Dome would be a perfectly timed coup for the athletic department. ​What’s in a name? Sometimes everything, and for Syracuse athletics it could mean the ability to run with the big dogs. 

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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