Citi (TaxPayers) Field Name Safe, According to Mets
Baseball is America's favorite past time, so it sounds like a great idea for American Taxpayers to foot the Bill for the 400 million dollar name rights to the new Mets Stadium. Citigroup still intends to go through with the deal it cut with the New York Mets to name the new Stadium, "Citi Field". They are going through with it despite the fact they have laid off thousands of workers, decreased the credit Limits of hundreds of thousands of credit accounts, and will be receiving a massive bailout by the taxpayers.
Here's the problem, I don't want to pay for The New York Mets Stadium name rights as I am a Atlanta Braves Fan. Wouldn't it be appropriate for the name to read, "Taxpayers Field"? This may be an opportunity for you communicate with your Congressman and Senators and say No to Citi Field and yes to Taxpayers Field.
Just over two years ago, the New York Mets announced that they had reached an agreement with Citigroup for the naming rights to their new ballpark slated to open in 2009 for a record $400 million over 20 years, or $20 million annually.
The extraordinary deal highlighted the power of MLB and naming rights allure in the New York market. And, even at $20 million annually over 20 years, it has a provision by which the parties can extend the deal for up to 35 years, showing the investment and returns that Citigroup saw in the Mets' new stadium. Given that naming rights for new Yankee Stadium were not up for grabs, the Citigroup deal was seen by many as the next best thing.
It was a staggering deal, eclipsing the record amount for a naming rights deal brokered by the NFL Houston Texans and Reliant Energy for $10 million annually to 2032. The deal brokered in 2002 is $100 million less than the Mets will pull in from Citigroup.
The deal with the Mets was before the economic downturn. Even before the heavy slide in the credit market, Citigroup had begun to cut costs, reducing their assets by 20 percent since the first quarter of this year.
Today, Citigroup announced that 53,000 workers will be laid-off – a staggering sum totaling 20 percent of their workforce.
According to The Associated Press, “a Citigroup spokesman said that while certain regions and businesses might have higher concentrations of job cuts, they would generally be across the entire company and around the world.”
And while the steep declines in the financial sector have Citigroup deeply entrenched within it, in the naming rights world, one is reminded of the self-inflicted collapse of Enron that cut short the deal that the energy giant had with the Houston Astros for the name of their stadium.
So, the question is, will the steep losses at Citigroup scuttle the most lucrative naming rights deal in American sports history with the Mets?
The answer from the Mets is, no.
Reached for comment, Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz simply replied that the deal with Citigroup is not in peril.
“Everything is fine with our naming rights deal for Citi Field,” Horwitz replied by email.
With cuts being made by Citigroup over the course of the year, and today's announcement, if the Mets' comments are true, it may be that nothing short of a total collapse by Citigroup will derail the record naming rights deal.
Staten Island Republicans Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo, who sit on New York’s City Council, are suggesting a name change for the Mets new ballpark.
The two politicians say that in light of the government bailout of Citigroup, the ballpark’s name should be changed to Citi/Taxpayer Field. Both the Mets and Citigroup say that there are no plans to alter the naming-rights deal.
How about John Q. Taxpayer Field? Or Joe Sixpack Park, in honor of all the people paying for it who have no chance of ever sitting in one of its 40,000 high-priced seats? Bailout Ballpark, anyone?
SEE ALSO Jon Azpiri story- NY Politicians Propose to Change Name of NY Mets New Stadium To Citi/Taxpayers Field
Well, it seems that politisite isn't alone.
Now that Citigroup is getting billions of dollars in federal aid, Staten Island Republicans Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo say the ballpark’s name should be changed to Citi/Taxpayer Field.