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What's In a Name?

Reliant Stadium's surprising name change raises plenty of questions: Will Houston embrace the switch?

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Reliant Stadium at night with bull sculptures
Reliant Stadium will soon be rebranded as Reliant Stadium NRG Stadium, after NRG Energy. Photo by Ed Schipul/Flickr

Are you ready for a major Houston name change?

Reliant Stadium is about to become NRG Stadium and Reliant Park will be called NRG Park in a sweeping switch engineered by Reliant's parent company — NRG Energy. The Chronicle first reported the change.

NRG Energy acquired Reliant Energy's retail operations in 2009. Now, NRG has plans to change every stadium sign that currently bears Reliant's name.

Questions still loom at this early stage whether the name change will be applicable to Reliant Center, Reliant Arena and the still-in-limbo Reliant Astrodome. The details of the new change will be discussed March 19 at the next board meeting of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corp., which runs the Reliant Park complex.

Reliant purchased the naming rights for the stadium, where the Houston Texans play, and park buildings in 2002 for $300 million, a then-record naming rights fee. The stadium is the only rodeo and NFL indoor/outdoor retractable roof, natural grass stadium that can be configured to utilize a 125,000 square foot space for general sessions, catered functions, exhibits, concerts and much more.

It's the most high-profile stadium in Houston and is set to host the 2016 Final Four and the 2017 Super Bowl, mammoth events that will give the new NRG name plenty of play.

NRG's retail serves 1.6 million customers in Texas. Its retail operations have operated under the Reliant Energy name while the remainder of the former Reliant Energy became RRI Energy.

What do you think of the sudden name change? Will you embrace NRG Stadium or still call it Reliant? Sound off by leaving a comment.

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