MetLife In Advanced Talks To Land Naming Rights To New Meadowlands Stadium
MetLife is in "advanced discussions with New Meadowlands Stadium to upgrade its corner sponsorship ... to a full naming-rights deal," according to Terry Lefton in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. A source said the negotiations are "very advanced, but not complete." Other sources said that talks have "progressed enough that those inquiring about naming rights in the last month have been told that they were not available, though a cornerstone sponsorship could be." Several sources indicated that MetLife is "paying about $7 million a year for its cornerstone deal, and that the naming-rights package being considered would average between $17 million and $18 million a year." Lefton reports MetLife landing the naming rights "would bring it full circle," as it bought the "first cornerstone partnership at the stadium three years ago." While the deal is not finished, the "level of anxiety surrounding the negotiations is high." There is "some concern within MetLife as to how such a large marketing expenditure on an NFL stadium would look during a time when the league is locking out its players." MetLife sponsors the PGA Tour, but the New Meadowlands deal "would be by far its biggest nonmedia sports expenditure." The original asking price for naming rights to the stadium was "upward of $30 million a year." However, many industry experts indicated that the "lower price, and the ability for the stadium to gain incremental revenue by selling MetLife's corner, made MetLife's bid an attractive offer for the property" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 6/27 issue).