|Delgado May Help Puerto Rico Tourism Co.
Promote Travel To The Island As Part Of Deal
The Mets and the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. yesterday unveiled their new sponsorship deal, and officials for the tourism agency said they are also nearing a pact with Mets 1B and Puerto Rico native Carlos Delgado to a companion deal in which he would also help promote travel to the island. The Mets sponsorship is part of a quickly-heightening involvement by the agency in sports-related efforts, including recent alignments with the World Baseball Classic and Legg Mason Tennis Classic in DC. “Part of the vision here is to promote Puerto Rico as the premier sports destination in the Caribbean, and the place in the region where there’s so much more than just surf and sun,” said Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Deputy Dir Mario Gonzalez De Lafuente, citing events there such as the upcoming FIBA Americas Championship and the PGA Tour Puerto Rico Open. “We’re, of course, promoting more than sports, and that’s there’s so much more to do and see in Puerto Rico, but we see sports as a core part of our message.” On top of traditional assets such as outfield wall and home plate rotational signage and tabling rights, the deal also involves a companion effort in which sister promotional company Rums of Puerto Rico will get access into many Citi Field hospitality spaces to serve products such as Bacardi and Don Q. The rum involvement brought out Bethenny Frankel, seen on “The Real Housewives of New York City” and “The Apprentice,” to yesterday’s announcement as she is an official spokesperson for Rums of Puerto Rico. The agreement is for the rest of this year, with an option held by the tourism company for '10. Mets Exec VP/Business Operations Dave Howard said the pact was a "natural" given the club's extensive popularity in Puerto Rico and presence of several Puerto Rican players on the club's roster. "We're big down there, thanks in part to the two Carloses [Delgado and OF Carlos Beltran], and New York is a very important market for them. So it's a great fit."
MORE BUSINESS TO COME: Howard said the deal is one of several the club is negotiating for the balance of the '09 season and for '10, despite a checkered, injury-plagued season that has seen the Mets' on-field fortunes dim and the recent controversies involving GM Omar Minaya, former VP/Player Development Tony Bernazard, and N.Y. Daily News reporter Adam Rubin. "We still have a quality product and a great stadium and remain aggressive in pursuing new business," Howard said. "There's been a bit of a rough patch, but you simply have to remember to never get too high or too low in this business. You just can't overreact either way. Unfortunately, the local media does lend itself to some wild swings, both positive and negative. But that doesn't change the character of who we are as an organization and as a business partner." Attendance at Citi Field, meanwhile, remains in excess of 39,000 per game and 94% of capacity. Asked if he was concerned about a September dropoff at the turnstiles, Howard said, "We'll have to see how it plays out. We're not done playing baseball. But we still have great energy in the building."