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Volume 27 No. 35
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Saints Tab OVG To Sell Next Superdome Naming Rights Deal

The Saints have selected Oak View Group to help sell naming rights to the Superdome after Mercedes-Benz’ deal expires next year. The Saints vetted “five or six” agencies before choosing OVG, according to Saints VP/Corporate Partnerships Matt Webb. OVG has closed four major naming rights deals so far in '20, and the Saints believe the Superdome can attract a major national or international brand at a premium price despite its age. “We wanted a world-class agency to help us find the next partner for a world-class building, and we really believe (Oak View Group President of Global Partnerships) Dan Griffis and his team represent that type of agency,” Webb said. With the Superdome 45 years old and coming off one major naming rights deal, most sponsorship experts would expect the price to decline from the approximately $5M annually Mercedes Benz has paid since '10. But the Superdome will soon get a $450M renovation -- and will host the ’22 Men’s Final Four, Super Bowl LVIII in '24 and the Sugar Bowl/CFP rotation -- leading insiders to believe it can command a substantial increase. “I kind of look at the Mount Rushmore of stadiums in the world ... and the Superdome is one of those buildings that would absolutely be on that list,” said Griffis. “Those types of buildings don’t become available for sale very often, and when it does, it presents a unique opportunity unlike anything we’ve ever done.”

CRAFTING THE DEAL: Webb said the Saints expect to have a new deal in place by the time Mercedes-Benz expires in July. He declined to comment on economic expectations. The team’s small corporate base will be a challenge. Louisiana has just two Fortune 500 corporate headquarters, CenturyLink and Entergy. On Friday, Oak View Group announced a $125M deal with Co-op to the rights for a new arena under development in Manchester, U.K., and also has finished deals with Amazon for Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, UBS for the Islanders’ new arena on Long Island and Philadelphia Union's Subaru Park. Webb said OVG’s track record during the pandemic speaks for itself, and they trust their process, methodology and relationships with major brands. ”They certainly have the hot hand right now,” he said.