Friday, May 13, 2011

A corporate logo will soon grace the floor at Hinkle Fieldhouse

Even the historic gym where the movie "Hoosiers" was filmed is susceptible to corporate influence.

Butler announced Wednesday that Zotec Partners, a medical billing and practice management services firm, will be the lead sponsor of Hinkle Fieldhouse's upcoming $25 million facelift. As part of that agreement, Zotec Partners will become the first company to have its logo on the Hinkle Fieldhouse floor.

The idea of a corporate logo gracing the floor of the 83-year-old gym has sparked a healthy debate among Butler fans. Some acknowledge that the $25 million won't just raise itself. Others are wary that this could be the first step toward the place one day being renamed "Steak and Shake Hinkle Fieldhouse."

Butler director of corporate sponsorships Joe Gentry said Friday that "there's absolutely no chance" of Hinkle Fieldhouse being renamed. He did not disclose the terms of the agreement with Zotec Partners but said Butler will make sure the logos are tasteful.

"We're always conscientious of our fans and their opinions, but foremost in our minds was how we could help our student-athletes and our department," Gentry said. "Having logos on the floor, it seems like more schools are doing that these days. To be honest, it's something we've been trying to do for quite a while."

Even those who aren't wild about the logo at Hinkle Fieldhouse recognize the importance of funding the renovation project.

Chairs will replace benches in the lower bowl. A new scoreboard with video capability also is in the plans. New restrooms will be installed and part of the building will be converted to a lobby where spectators can gather.

Hinkle Fieldhouse is a national historic landmark and the sixth-oldest college basketball arena still in use, so it's understandable that the basketball-savvy residents of Indiana would be fiercely protective of it. Still a corporate logo seems like a small price to pay to preserve the building for years to come.

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