ONLY IN THE WORLD-HERALD
The Qwest Center Omaha has had a nice run.
But change is coming.
By the end of August, the facility will don the name of CenturyLink, the Monroe, La.-based telecommunications company that is expected to close its $22 billion merger deal with Qwest Communications on April 1.
CenturyLink's name and green sunburst logo will replace everything — from trash cans and hand dryers, to uniforms and the giant outdoor signage — that currently carries the name “Qwest” and its “Q” emblem.
CenturyLink will pay for the expansive branding makeover, bringing a new flavor to Omaha's skyline and name recognition to the company — something its leaders covet, since the company is mostly unknown to many Nebraskans who soon will be its customers.
All Qwest properties — including Qwest Field in Seattle, home to the National Football League's Seattle Seahawks and Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders, and Qwest Arena in Boise, Idaho — will transition to the CenturyLink name and brand, said Danny Pate, who will serve as vice president and general manager for Nebraska operations.
Additionally, the company will swap out the Qwest signage atop the Omaha World-Herald building at 1314 Douglas St., which the Omaha World-Herald Co. purchased in 2006.
“All Qwest properties will adopt the CenturyLink name,” Pate said in a statement.
CenturyLink and the organization that operates the Qwest Center Omaha did not disclose the costs associated with renaming the Qwest Center.
“CenturyLink's consultant has visited Qwest Center Omaha and has an accurate count of our inventory,” said Roger Dixon, president and chief executive of the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority. “We expect a change may occur, but we haven't been informed one way or another.”
Denver-based Qwest inked the $14.05 million, 15-year naming rights deal with MECA in 2003.
Post-merger, the two telecommunications companies will undergo a strategic branding initiative with advertising and educational material for consumers who aren't familiar with CenturyLink, a Qwest spokeswoman said.
Those initiatives will be tailored to each market. In the Midlands, where CenturyLink has only a small presence around Scottsbluff, the merged company initially will use marketing materials that include the CenturyLink and Qwest logos and names.
That way, customers will learn that the companies are working together versus seeing just the CenturyLink name and logo and possibly growing leery of the newcomer, said Joanna Hjelmeland, the Qwest spokeswoman.
If the latter were to happen, competitors potentially could swoop in and take advantage of customers wanting to ditch their service because of the unfamiliarity with CenturyLink.
“Qwest is not going away. The brand will, eventually, but the company isn't going away.”
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