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Volume 22 No. 32
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Leverage, MP & Silva will pair in effort to sell Red Bull Arena naming rights

The New York Red Bulls have retained both Leverage Agency and MP & Silva to sell the naming rights to Red Bull Arena.

The two agencies will work together to source bids from both metro-area and global corporations, said Amy Scheer, Red Bulls chief commercial officer. The Harrison, N.J.-based soccer-specific stadium has never had an outside naming-rights partner since it opened in 2010, as Red Bull owns both the club and the stadium. The club began exploring a naming-rights deal in October 2015.

The Harrison, N.J., stadium has never had an outside naming-rights partner.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
“We felt the two-agency route would be best to expand the base of potential partners,” Scheer said. “I’ve worked closely with [Leverage Agency founder and CEO] Ben [Sturner] before, and MP & Silva has made their living globally in the soccer space. I’m thrilled we’re working with both.”

The Red Bulls would likely be seeking at least a 10-year deal valued in the seven figures annually, according to a source. Most MLS stadium naming-rights deals average between $1.5 million and $2 million annually. MLS expansion club LAFC recently secured a 15-year, $100 million deal with Banc of California, which at $6.7 million a year is one of the league’s largest. Scheer declined to comment on pricing.

Both Sturner and MP & Silva’s Dan Cohen said the rare opportunity to obtain naming rights in a major sport in New York makes it hard to compare these rights with other deals across MLS. Both also declined to discuss pricing. “I think there’s an opportunity to get in with a league on the rise that is doing really well with its target audience of youth and families,” Cohen said. “Not to mention, it’s in a nexus of transportation. A plane goes over Red Bull Arena going to Newark, JFK or LaGuardia about once a minute.”

MP & Silva, which last year was hired to sell the naming rights of the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., will use its connections in global soccer to reach out to international brands, Cohen said.

Leverage Agency, which recently entered a three-year partnership to market Bundesliga club FC Schalke 04 in the U.S., will look to leverage its strong grasp of the U.S. and New York market, as well as its international soccer footprint, Sturner said.

Because there is no expiring contract, both Cohen and Sturner said there is no rush to get a deal done ahead of the MLS season, which begins in March. Scheer said she is optimistic that the deal could be done in the next year but that “there is no clock ticking.”