SBJ/June 26 - July 2, 2006/This Weeks News

Mets tap Allen & Co. for naming-rights search

The New York Mets have hired investment banker Allen & Co. to market the naming rights for their forthcoming ballpark in Queens, the first such project for the longtime broker of franchise acquisitions and sports media deals.

The rendering says “Mets Ballpark,” but the club
says $10M might change that.
The Mets hope to reap at least $10 million per year in the naming pact, a sum that would easily set a benchmark for the sport. The Houston Astros hold the top mark, with a $6 million a year deal for Minute Maid Park.

The Mets’ Ebbets Field-inspired ballpark, to be located adjacent to the team’s current Shea Stadium home, is scheduled to open in 2009.

The Mets and Allen & Co. managing director Steve Greenberg, who will oversee the sales effort, have a long history of working together. Greenberg most recently aided the club on its launch of SportsNet New York, the regional sports network owned in conjunction with Comcast and Time Warner. Greenberg is also on the club’s board of directors.

“On a certain level, a deal is simply a deal. We have a deep set of relationships within the corporate community that will certainly aid in this project,” Greenberg said. “We weren’t really looking to establish a presence in naming rights, but rather be of assistance to the Mets and the Wilpons.”

Several other agencies were interviewed, said Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, one of three members of the Wilpon family that controls the team. That list of agencies includes Wasserman Media Group, which has since been hired to market naming rights for the New York Giants and Jets’ forthcoming stadium in the Meadowlands (see related story, page 10). The Mets deemed working on both deals a conflict of interest, however, and once it became apparent Wasserman would win the football job, they were removed from consideration.

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