Local News

Substance abuse group opposes Bud Light name on amphitheater

Posted June 1, 2010
Updated June 19, 2010

— Raleigh's Substance Abuse Advisory Commission said Tuesday that naming the new downtown amphitheater for a beer would send the wrong message to children and hurt those dealing with substance abuse problems.

City officials are working with Anheuser-Busch and local distributor Harris Wholesale on a deal for the amphitheater's naming rights. The proposed deal would name the venue the Bud Light Amphitheater in exchange for $300,000 a year over five years.

Mayor Charles Meeker has called the deal "a purely financial transaction," noting that the money the city would receive would cover most of the operating costs for the 5,000-seat amphitheater, which is across McDowell Street from the Raleigh Convention Center.

But some have expressed opposition to the deal, saying it would promote underage drinking.

"We are opposed to it,” said Karen Kranbuehl, a member of Raleigh's Substance Abuse Advisory Commission.

Raleigh Mayor Pro Tem James West disagreed and said the city needs the money.

"Sometimes we have to make tough decisions in very difficult times when we need revenue,” he said Tuesday.

Council members with whom WRAL News spoke with appeared to be split on the naming-rights deal.

"Not only being a governmental agency, but also in the capital city, I don't think it is very appropriate for us to do,” Councilman Thomas Crowder said in opposition.

Councilwoman Nancy MacFarlane said she remains undecided.

"We need to weigh the pros and cons of it,” she said.

City survey results favor naming amphitheater after a beer City survey results favor naming amphitheater after a beer

An online survey of citizens conducted last month by the city found that most were in favor of naming the amphitheater after a beer. Of the more 1,600 people who responded, 55 percent said they would support it.

The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission must approve any deal Raleigh strikes with Anheuser-Busch and Harris Wholesale. Under state liquor advertising regulations, an alcoholic beverage cannot be part of the name of a public venue.

A draft contract with Anheuser-Busch calls for a marquee with the Bud Light name over the amphitheater entrance and the inclusion of the beer's name in all print, radio, television and online advertising. In addition, Anheuser-Busch would receive 16 tickets and a four-seat VIP box at each concert, parking passes and the opportunity to meet performers.

Raleigh-based band The Connells will headline an open house at the amphitheater on June 4. Other bands to play at the event include I Was Totally Destroying It, Mosadi Music, Old Avenue, Seep Control, The Small Ponds and Th' Bullfrog Willard McGee.

On June 6, the pop group The Backstreet Boys will formally open the amphitheater.

The city has a deal with concert promoter LiveNation to bring 15 to 20 events each year to the amphitheater, and the venue also will host local events.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • lukeskare Jun 4, 2010

    It's funny that they oppose the name - but will they oppose the
    Slightly Stoopid Legalize It Tour 2010 ?? too funny

  • whatusay Jun 3, 2010

    Do these people allow their children in a grocery store or a convienent store where beer is sold, and advertised with big displays? How ignorant can people be?

  • Whatever Geez Jun 2, 2010

    so what? they sell beer at Walnut Creek....whats their point? People need to get a life, which I really don't know why they built this but it doesn't matter.

  • Iraq_Vet Jun 2, 2010

    Say no to Bud Light. Amstel Light is a better name and doesn't suck as much as Bud Light. Just my 2 cents.

  • sunydaze Jun 2, 2010

    and for those of you who think this makes Raleigh un-classy or full of greed, there is a plane, bus and train that leaves raleigh tonight and you could be on it...good luck with your next city of choice.

  • chevybelair57sd Jun 2, 2010

    you folks swallow a dollar and choke on a penny, protest something worth while for once, you're voting for a inept state government in hopes of a handout and protesting a legal paying enterprise, if they don't pay YOU WILL

  • sfischer202 Jun 2, 2010

    Budlight is not my beer of choice but who says I have to drink it? Downtown live has bud light ads right? What about the beer ads at the rbc center? I don't hear people saying anything about that. There are a lot of kids at the hockey games, moster truck show, and whatever else they have going on in there. What about football season? All you see is beer ads on tv and kids sit there with their parnets and watch the game. People just wanna hear their voices over nothing. Kids are not going to think about drinking just by looking at a sign. I support the idea and looking forward to this new place opening.

  • Mugu Jun 2, 2010

    These substance abuse groups need to get a life, plying their personal problems on the rest of society is not the way to gain support for their cause.

    I am against the naming solely based on the law as it is written and the fact that Bud Light's parent company, Swillheiser-Busch is a horrible member of the corporate community.

  • wheelest Jun 2, 2010

    ..."RBC Center" offends me because I'm broke and don't have any money in the bank. And, for that matter, the Hardees' box office (now Time Warner Cable Pavilion) was contributing to my obesity! Stop the naming madness!!!!!!!!...are we finished here? Geez.

  • hank5049 Jun 2, 2010

    i guess we need to stop beer sales at the mudcats and bulls games. (sarcastic) rolling my eyes.