SBD/Issue 245/Facilities & Venues

Giants, Jets Could Net $30M From Allianz, But Is It The Right Move?

Allianz In Naming-Rights Talks
For New Meadowlands Stadium 
The Giants and Jets are negotiating a naming-rights sponsorship for their new Meadowlands stadium with Germany-based insurance and financial services company Allianz, which "would put [$25-30M] a year in the teams' pockets for the next 10 to 20 years," according to sources cited by Maura McDermott of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. However, Allianz had "strong ties to the Nazis during World War II, providing insurance to death camps such as Auschwitz." NJSEA Chair Carl Goldberg, whose company owns the land where the stadium is being built, said that he "understands that not everyone would welcome Allianz as a stadium sponsor." Goldberg said Giants Owners the Tisch family are "hugely invested in Jewish philanthropy, not only in the [U.S.] but around the world, and they're very sensitive to these kinds of issues" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/11).

SHOULD THEY THINK TWICE? In N.Y., Oren Yaniv reports Jewish organizations and football fans are "outraged over the prospect" of the possible naming-rights agreement with Allianz." Anti-Defamation League National Dir Abe Foxman said of the potential naming-rights sponsorship, "It would be an insult. It's putting their name in lights for generations to come." Allianz of America Senior VP Peter Lefkin said, "Our record of trying to redress the evils of the Third Reich have been significant over the years." A source said that the New Meadowlands Stadium Corp, which is representing both the Giants and Jets owners, is "convinced that Allianz has done enough to correct its past." North American Board of Rabbis Secretary General Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum said, "I have found Allianz to be receptive, to be sensitive and a friend of the Jewish people today. We need not live in the past" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/11). Also in N.Y., Gary Myers writes under the header, "Considering Firm With Nazi Ties For Naming Rights Is Wrong Move." The company's "past will prompt a damage control campaign if Allianz remains the front-runner and wins the naming rights" to the new stadium. Myers writes even if Allianz is "willing to pay more than anybody else -- perhaps as much as $30[M] per year -- could" Giants Chair & Exec VP Steve Tisch and co-Owner John Mara and Jets Owner Woody Johnson "take a little less money and be a little more sensitive?" Neither the Giants nor Jets commented yesterday on the matter, but "combined with the recent PSL announcements, the news about Allianz's potential involvement is likely to be met with resistance in parts of the Jewish community" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/11). ESPN.com's Matt Mosley writes, "If the Giants and Jets decide to go with Allianz, I'm sure Tisch, who is Jewish, will take the lead on the P.R. front. This is a highly sensitive topic, and writers like Myers and community leaders aren't going to remain silent, nor should they" (ESPN.com, 9/11).

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