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Levi Strauss will pay $220.3M over 20 years to the city of Santa Clara and the 49ers for the naming rights to the team's new $1.2B stadium, with the "option of extending the deal for another five years for an additional $75 million or so,” according to a front-page piece by Mike Rosenberg of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The total contract, which “averages out to about $11 million per year in the first two decades, is believed to be at least the fourth-highest in NFL history.” Levi Strauss “beat out 31 other interested companies from around the world -- including three to five unnamed corporations that were in the final stages of negotiations.” The company “offered the most money, as well as proven financial success ... something lacked by a lot of the young Silicon Valley tech companies that were interested.” The team also “loved the short, clean feel of the Levi's Stadium name.” Levi’s has been “promised four huge signs around the stadium, a pair of 50-yard-line luxury suites, 52 club seats, access to host four events a year at the stadium and plenty of perks that come with joining the family of an NFL team.” The company can call on players to “woo customers and have coach Jim Harbaugh come in to pump up employees.” The 49ers and CAA have been “negotiating with Levi's since December.” Santa Clara city officials “endorsed the Levi's deal in principle over the past week and are expected to give a formal green light" tonight during a City Council meeting. The Santa Clara Stadium Authority will get $154.2M over the 20-year deal, starting with $5.7M when the stadium opens in August ‘14 and “increasing 3 percent annually” to $10M in ‘33. The 49ers will get $66.1M, starting with $2.5M next year and increasing to $4.3M in ’33. The team also will sign an "additional sponsorship agreement with the company that goes beyond the naming-rights portion of the deal.” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 5/9). 49ers CEO Jed York said that the “timing of the stadium naming-rights deal and the upcoming vote of league owners” on host sites for Super Bowls L and LI is a "coincidence” (CSNBAYAREA.com, 5/8).
A SPONSOR WITH LEGS: York this morning noted the team had a "lot of interest from a lot of different folks, and we said all along we wanted to make sure that it was the right fit." York: "When you look at Levi's, they’ve been outfitting 49ers since they began in 1853 and started with blue jeans in 1873." He added Levi's "saw that this is going to be a showcase stadium of innovation throughout the Bay Area." York: "We’ve got some great tech partners, we’ve got some great partners all across the board, and this is a great way for us to connect with our fans" ("NFL AM," NFL Network, 5/9). AD AGE’s Michael McCarthy noted Levi’s is a “more natural fit" for the stadium name than a "dot-com or company that made expensive cables.” The 49ers and the NFL “likely don’t have to worry about their naming rights sponsor going bankrupt after a denim bubble pops.” IEG Senior VP/Content Strategy Jim Andrews: “You don't see many apparel companies with their names on stadiums and arenas. But it does a couple of things for Levi's. They're a heritage brand -- and part of that heritage is being from San Francisco. This plays that up big time.” However, Baker Street Advertising Exec VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman said, “I just assumed they wanted to sign a sponsor based in Silicon Valley, not San Francisco, for the naming rights” (ADAGE.com, 5/8). In S.F., Matier & Ross write the “selection of an old-line San Francisco apparel brand over a Silicon Valley company is a bit of a surprise, given the emphasis the team has placed on making its new stadium state-of-the-art” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/9). ESPN.com’s Mike Sando wrote the 49ers “likely won't have an unpleasant name change forced upon them, as the case was when CenturyLink overtook Qwest, affecting the Seahawks' stadium brand” (ESPN.com, 5/8).
The Univ. of Minnesota and the Vikings “have agreed to terms on a facility use agreement that allows the Vikings to use TCF Bank Stadium for the 2014 and 2015 seasons while their new stadium is being built on the old Metrodome site,” according to Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The agreement is “subject to a vote" by the UM Board of Regents, whose Facilities & Operations Committee will take up the issue today, with the full board scheduled to act Friday. Within the agreement are “stipulations that the Vikings will reimburse the university for any required TCF Bank Stadium capital improvements, as well as all gameday operational expenses for Vikings home games.” The Vikings additionally “will pay the university a per-game rent of $250,000 for the 2014 and 2015 season.” The team also will “share $50,000 per game in concessions, advertising and sponsorship revenue.” The Vikings in total will “pay the university $300,000 per game and a maximum" of $3M per season. However, the $3M “doesn’t include any extra costs the Viking might incur to winterize the stadium, such as installing a heated field" at a cost of approximately $2M, and "adding temporary seating in the open end of the stadium.” There also could be “additional costs to the Vikings to make concession stands more easily available to fans” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/9).
STATING THE CONTRIBUTION: Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton yesterday said that state officials are “working on a new source of money to pay the state’s share” of the new Vikings stadium. In Minneapolis, Baird Helgeson noted Dayton “would not reveal the source of money.” But he said that the plan “does not include the team paying a larger share" of the new $975M stadium. Dayton added that the proposal “does not include a plan to impose a new tax on sports memorabilia.” State leaders had “counted on additional revenue from new electronic pull-tabs and bingo games, but the money has already fallen so dramatically below projections that state leader are scrambling to find another source of revenue.” The state needs about $30M a year to "pay its share of the stadium” (STARTRIBUNE.com, 5/8). Helgeson notes Dayton is “considering closing some tax loopholes to help pay the state’s share.” Dayton’s administration said that the new plan “will not include any expansion of gambling or new casinos.” The stadium funding plan "already has two other backups: A sports-themed Minnesota Lottery game and a tax on stadium suites.” But those “don’t bring in a lot of money and likely would not make up the gap left by the electronic pulltabs and bingo” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/9).
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Tom Tunney introduced a proposal to the City Council yesterday that would allow the Cubs "to play as many as 46 night games at Wrigley Field starting next year," according to Sachdev, Dardick & Ruthhart of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The proposal seeks to "increase the number of night games to 40 from the current 30 and give the Cubs the flexibility to add up to six more night games if Major League Baseball requests changes to the schedule during the season." The proposal also would "permit the Cubs to host four concerts and to make changes to its schedule as soon as next month." The introduction of the night-game ordinance is the "first legislative step" in a $500M renovation to Wrigley Field. The Cubs earlier this year were "seeking as many as 54 home night games, which the team says is the average for MLB teams." But in negotiations with Tunney and Emanuel, the team "agreed to 40 night games if it received additional flexibility." Under the proposed ordinance, the Cubs would be "allowed to schedule 35 night games." They would "hold back five games to satisfy requirements of MLB's national television contract." The Cubs would have to "get approval from the City Council or the city's legal department" if the league "requests more than five games be switched from day to night to be televised nationally." Emanuel and Tunney suggested that no more than "six games be rescheduled above the 40-game cap to accommodate the league's television contract" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/9). In Chicago, Fran Spielman notes the plan also allows for "six 3:05 p.m. starts on Fridays." Lake View Citizens Council President Will DeMillie, whose neighborhood is in close proximity to the ballpark, said that he "still believes the six 3:05 p.m. starts should be counted as night games." But he added Emanuel's ordinance is "better than the unlimited number of night games" proposed by the Cubs (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/9).
RICKETTS REAFFIRMS HIS WORD: In Illinois, Richard Klicki noted Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts on Tuesday "reaffirmed his commitment to renovating Wrigley Field and keeping the team in Chicago" during a speech at the fourth annual DuPage County Regional Business Outlook forum. Ricketts said that his proposed renovation to Wrigley is the "only priority for the Cubs and he is confident the owners, the city of Chicago and Wrigley Field neighbors will come to an agreement." Ricketts: "We really haven't played the other options card. We tried to take the high ground and we're really focused on hoping that everyone with incentive to restore and preserve and improve Wrigley Field will work toward the common goal, and I think we're getting really close to that" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 5/8). USA TODAY's sports-section cover story deals with the Cubs' efforts to renovate Wrigley, with Bob Nightengale writing balls and strikes are "taking a back seat to beefs and strife" (USA TODAY, 5/9).