Orange Watch: Syracuse announcement of Dome renovations comes minus a name

Carrier Dome
Rendering of renovations of the Carrier Dome. Photo Credit: Syracuse University.

Item: Of course it is a monumentally bad deal in this day and age of corporate sponsorships and major college athletics being married at the hip to the tune of multi-million dollar, multi-year sponsorships. You know, the now paltry $2.75M naming gift Carrier Corporation forked over in 1979 to the university gaining, as a courtesy, the right to attach its name seemingly in perpetuity to the soon-to-open, air-supported $31M spectacle on campus that would change the course of Syracuse athletics. It was quite conspicuous this week when SU announced the timeline for an initial phase of upgrades to the 38 year old venue, the name “Carrier Dome” was (officially) nowhere to be found.

Ok, we’ll admit it. We rarely, if ever, use the word “Carrier” in front of the word “Dome” when we’re writing or talking about the home venue for the Orange sports teams we cover.

Then again, it’s pretty obvious why that’s the case. It would seem pretty stiff and formal to keep referring the building as the “Carrier Dome” for a website specifically geared to the niche of Syracuse athletics, when virtually everyone reading knows the locale as “the Dome.”

Yet, we thought it was obviously strange to see the word “Carrier” omitted from all official university documentation announcing the $118M Dome renovation project on Monday, the 11:00 a.m. (ET) press conference coming just a scant two hours after an email was issued notifying the media of an announcement upcoming at “The Dome.”

“A new fixed roof, a vertically hung scoreboard, state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, improved accessibility and added Wi-Fi capabilities are just a handful of features visitors to Syracuse University’s stadium will experience beginning in fall 2020,” read the first sentence of the university’s Monday emailed press release.

The “Carrier Dome” was M.I.A., substituted with “Syracuse University’s stadium” as part of the details listing the overall next step in the school’s master West Campus transformation strategy.

In another Monday email sent to the school’s alumni and friends, Chancellor Kent Syverud wrote, “As a proud member of the Syracuse University alumni community, you understand and appreciate the historical and cultural significance of the iconic Dome.”

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“You also appreciate the tremendous role it plays in the student experience,” Syverud continued. “In fact, many of you began and culminated your academic careers there with orientation and Commencement events.”

Again, nowhere to be found is “Carrier,” the venue simply referred to as “the iconic Dome.”

We know the university has previously tried to renegotiate the 1979 naming rights gift, and there certainly may be some grudges about leaving millions of dollars in critical partnership dollars on the table because of a deal struck almost four decades ago, but banishing the name seems awkward.

On the other hand, the long awaited renovation time frame approved by the Board of Trustees comes at a most opportune time related to not only the roof having to be replaced by its lifespan, with a new permanent fixture changing the look of the Syracuse skyline, but also to the fortunes of the building’s two main occupants.

Not only will the fan experience improve greatly with amenities like air conditioning, new lighting, an overhead video board, better acoustics (something that seems to have never been solved since day one) and the critical 21st century need for fast Wi-Fi, but recruiting figures to benefit greatly as the football program heads into a critical third season under Dino Babers, and with the project scheduled to be completed coinciding with Jim Boeheim passing on the keys to the basketball program in 2022.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.