New signage will be up at all NRG Park facilities in time for the National Football League season. (Rendering by Mark Green Photography)
Effective immediately, four SMG-managed facilities in Houston, formerly called Reliant Park, will now be referred to as NRG Park. The individual facilities in the NRG Park complex include NRG Stadium, NRG Center, NRG Arena and NRG Astrodome.
On March 19, NRG Energy received approval from the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation to take over Reliant Energy’s 30-year naming rights contract for the entire complex. The previous contract was enacted in 2001, before the facility’s Aug. 24, 2002 opening, which means the NRG Park name will stay on the buildings until at least 2031. The parent company of Reliant Energy has been pushing for a name change since the fourth quarter of 2013.
“NRG has been the parent company of Reliant for nearly five years now. With the growing presence of NRG products and services in the Texas market, like NRG eVgo and NRG Home Services, we thought the right timing was now,” said Shabina Zakaria, Communications manager for NRG Energy.
NRG Energy worked closely with venue operators SMG and the two largest tenants at the facilities, the Houston Texans and Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, before submitting the formal name change request to the county, which owns the complex.
“All three parties have been supportive of the changes and are excited about what this expanded relationship with our parent company can mean for the park to experience,” added Zakaria, who said that NRG already worked with Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo to introduce portable power stations this year, and are looking into more opportunities to add sustainable energy solutions to the complex.
More immediate changes include switching out “napkins, business cards, everything,” said facility GM Mark Miller, who added that there is a plan to change over venue assets such as websites and email addresses by June 1, and to have new signage in place by the start of the football season in the fall.
An imagining of the signage at NRG Center. (Rendering by Mark Green Photography)
The complex even has to change its address.
The buildings aren’t moving anywhere, but the mailing address is currently “1 Reliant Pkwy,” which is in the process of being changed to reflect NRG’s new naming rights to “1 NRG Pkwy.”
The new logo and signage won’t look that much different from the current signage, since NRG rebranded within the last few years to create a national identity that was consistent for all of their companies.
Miller said he plans on doing mailers and reaching out to hotels and taxicab companies to get the word out about the name change in order to avoid confusion when people come in for events.
“There are good things that come along with the name change process, too,” said Miller. “We get a lot of new things out of the process, like new uniforms and everything down to traffic cones — all sorts of odds and ends throughout the park.”
“Plus, it’s always good to get your name out there,” he added.
Interviewed for this story: Mark Miller, (832) 250-9274; Shabina Zakaria, (440) 821-0287