SBD/January 6, 2011/Facilities

MasterCard Signs Five-Year Naming-Rights Deal For Beijing Arena

Wukesong Arena hosted basketball during the '08 Olympics in Beijing

MasterCard has signed its first naming-rights deal for an arena, the former Wukesong Indoor Stadium in Beijing. The five-year deal, which renames the 18,000-seat facility MasterCard Center, has a value of more than $4M annually, according to an industry source. The terms call for MasterCard to support content and programming by sponsoring top international and regional artists. The agreement is a partnership between MasterCard, the NBA, AEG and Bloomage Int'l Investment Group, a real estate firm tied to several high-profile buildings in China. MasterCard Center served as the basketball venue for the '08 Olympics and is the first Olympics facility in Beijing to be rebranded commercially. It is also the first naming-rights deal in the country's capital. AEG, the arena's operator, and event promoter AEG Live, its sister company, are expected to schedule more than 200 dates during the next five years, including NBA basketball, table tennis and badminton. Concerts by the Eagles, the Black Eyed Peas and Hong Kong singer/songwriter Jackie Cheung are already booked for '11. The MasterCard deal is the second naming-rights deal for a Chinese arena. Mercedes-Benz in '09 signed a 10-year deal valued at $6M annually to put its name on an 18,000-seat facility in Shanghai that opened last year. The partnership plays a key role in MasterCard's campaign to push public awareness of its brand and services in China. MasterCard sponsors a fashion event in Shanghai and runs programs in the country to support female education. The deal, brokered by Todd Goldstein and John Cappo with AEG Global Partnerships, takes effect Jan. 21, continuing through '15. There are options to extend the naming rights beyond that date.

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