Letterman campaigns for Ind. highway to be named after him

M By Chris Schilling

mUNCIE, Ind., Oct. 7 – Even if Indianapolis renames I-465 after David Letterman, a chance still exists the university’s most famous alumnus could have Ball State University’s football stadium named after him.

On Letterman’s “Late Show” Thursday night, the talk-show host called Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson to pitch his idea of renaming I-465 “the David Letterman Expressway.” Letterman’s newest campaign to put his name on something Hoosier-related is reminiscent of last year’s attempt to name Ball State’s football stadium after him.

But Al Rent, director of marketing, said Letterman could still get his name on the stadium.

“We’re serious about wanting to talk to him about it,” Rent said, who has made an appearance on Letterman’s show. “That stadium may pop up on the show at any given time.”

During Letterman’s phone conversation with Peterson, the mayor alluded to a possible $10 million price tag to rename I-465. But Letterman dodged Peterson’s comments about the $10 million.

“That’s a different telephone call,” Letterman said.

Letterman did tell the mayor he would pay for the necessary road signs if the interstate was named after him.

Naming Ball State’s football stadium would come with a price tag of its own, Rent said. He said charging for naming rights is an opportunity for the university to raise money.

The university would need to meet “face to face” with Letterman to decide what exactly that price tag would be, Rent said. Because Letterman has talked so openly about the university on his show, officials would have to take that free marketing into consideration.

“Certainly that places a factor and is part of the discussion,” Rent said. “But how much is that worth?”

As of right now, however, no plans are in the making to name the stadium after Letterman, Rent said. Also, because of his nature, Rent said he doesn’t know if university officials will ever be able to meet with the talk-show host.

“He’s a great guy, but pretty reclusive about letting anyone from the outside in,” Rent said.

Letterman may, in fact, not want anything named after him. The comedian has been known to use his renaming campaigns purely for laughs.

“When Dave does those things, it’s all for effect and another bit for the show,” Rent said. “The thing with Dave is, it’s hard to put a finger on how serious he he is.”