Insurance company MetLife "has inked a definitive agreement to purchase naming rights" to New Meadowlands Stadium, according to sources cited by Mark DeCambre of the N.Y. POST. The deal, first reported in June by SportsBusiness Journal, will see the one-year-old home of the NFL Giants and Jets renamed MetLife Stadium. Sources indicated that the naming-rights contract, which "could range as high as $20 million [a] year for 20 years, could be announced as early as next week in midtown Manhattan, with reps from MetLife and both teams and a number of star players in attendance." Sources added that MetLife and both teams "have been trying to hash out" a deal since last year, "but a volatile market has held up talks." MetLife acquired one of the stadium's four cornerstone partnerships three years ago. That deal was "scheduled to run until 2014 -- but will end upon the anticipated announcement of the insurance company’s upgrade to a full stadium naming rights deal" (N.Y. POST, 8/19). Newsday's Neil Best wrote on Twitter, "MetLife's naming rights for NMS, reported by SBJ back in June, won't be announced before first preseason games, but should be before opener."
In St. Petersburg, Nohlgren & Van Sickler report with City Council members "pressing for more information about the city's dealings" with the Rays, Mayor Bill Foster “revealed Thursday he is working to break the stadium stalemate but refused to give specifics." Foster told City Council members that “he has a detailed plan to ‘ensure the Rays are successful here in St. Petersburg.’” He later said that his words “should not be taken to mean that a new stadium will necessarily be built.” After the mayor’s “surprise announcement, the council voted 6-2 to hold a workshop to get more information” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 8/19). Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg said the team "tried to build a new stadium in 2008, and it sort of went nowhere." He added, "We would like to explore other areas within the region to see if we can move and create a revenue source that the region could really embrace and latch onto” (WFUV.org, 8/16).
LENDING A HAND: CTV EDMONTON's Jessica Earle reported outgoing Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach "suggested provincial money could be made available for a downtown arena in Edmonton if the rink is built as part of the celebrations" for Canada's 150th anniversary in '17. This suggestion comes "months after Edmonton’s Mayor and representatives from the Katz Group agreed to an agreement-in-principle for a new arena" for the Oilers, even though the deal still faced a C$100M shortfall. Since then, Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel “has vocally advocated for the province to step in with funds.” Mandel admits that “seeking money through national celebration wasn't discussed, though he likes the idea" (CTVEDMONTON.ca, 8/18).
GOING CAMPING: Bills CEO Russ Brandon said that the team is “close to an agreement with St. John Fisher College that will keep the team at the school for many years.” The Bills' current deal with the school “ended Thursday, which marked the conclusion of training camp.” Brandon, a graduate of the college, said, “This is a tremendous place to prepare and we have had a lot of discussions over the last month and the long and short of it is I think we are closing in on an agreement for St. John Fisher to be the summer home of the Bills for many years to come" (BUFFALONEWS.com, 8/18). Meanwhile, Anderson Univ. officials announced Thursday that the Colts will return training camp to the school in Anderson, Ind., for the “next five years” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 8/19).
A WARM WELCOME: EPL club Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium “is to have the section which houses away supporters renamed” as part of a movement to promote Wales. Club officials have reached a deal with the Welsh Government and the city and county of Swansea to “call the North Stand the Croeso Stand, with croeso being the Welsh word for ‘welcome.’” The deal “includes branding the renamed stand with tourist website hoardings, pitch-side LED advertising and promoting the ground’s conference facilities" (PA, 8/18). The club has also signed a three-year deal with online education recruitment service Eteach for naming rights to the venue's East Stand (WALESONLINE.co.uk, 8/19).