The Mercedes-Benz Superdome? Car Company Buys Stadium Naming Rights

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Tell us you think “luxury” when you think of the Louisiana Superdome. If Mercedes-Benz USA has anything to say about it, you will under the new 10-year agreement for the naming rights of the oft-maligned stadium with a near-horrific past.

You won’t recognize the Superdome as the building some remember from Hurricane Katrina. The 1975-built structure became synonymous with the filth and loss that spread across New Orleans during the 2005 event. The Louisiana Superdome housed those in search of a shelter, but quickly the needs of those piling into the building proved too much for the scant supplies and limited resources to handle. The rest is the well-known history of the building.

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What isn’t as prominently known is that the 73,000-seat dome, that not only houses the NFL’s New Orleans Saints but will also host the 2013 Super Bowl, just completed a major overhaul. Mercedes-Benz wants in on all that. Saints owner Tom Benson, no stranger to Mercedes with dealerships in New Orleans and Houston to his name, broached the German company with the idea and they liked the concept of using the Superdome as an “icon for rebirth.”

The luxury car manufacturer since has anted up an undisclosed amount of cash to get the rights to name the stadium and have its brand splashed across television screens everywhere, including the debut of the new name on Oct. 23 when the Saints host the Indianapolis Colts on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Of course, having the naming rights in place for the Super Bowl obviously played a major factor too. But those in New Orleans say it will awaken the nation to the comeback of the city (the football team already proved its point with a Super Bowl title in 2010). Either way, the nation will awaken to the fact that Mercedes-Benz name attempts to give New Orleans a feel of luxury, splashed all over a football stadium.

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Tim Newcomb is a contributor for TIME. Find him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.