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Volume 22 No. 43
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Mercedes-Benz Stadium on cusp of $1 billion sponsorship mark

Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a sponsor away from completing the sale of its founding-level sponsorships.

It has not been as easy to attract top-level sponsors for the remaining category, health care/hospital, as for some of the others that have been filled, although Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta did sign on as title sponsor of Atlanta United FC’s new practice facility in Marietta.

Tim Zulawski, senior vice president and chief commercial officer for AMB Sports & Entertainment, parent company of the Falcons and Atlanta United, said it is possible health care might not be a top-level sponsorship. Even without the health care piece complete, sources said, the new NFL/MLS facility, scheduled to open this summer, is 95 percent of the way to its originally stated goal of $1 billion in contractually obligated revenue. The price tag for founding-level sponsorships ranges from $3 million to $10 million annually.

Other intriguing sponsorship news surrounding the new stadium involves some categories that might have appeared unlikely at first. For example, Harrah’s is buying naming rights for a pair of mezzanine clubs for five years, even though the closest Harrah’s casinos are about 160 miles away, in Cherokee, N.C., and Wetumpka, Ala.

Malt beverages has been divided among Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors and Heineken. There are also two winemakers in as sponsors. The new stadium has a handful of distillers and brands as sponsors, including Bacardi.
Lunazul and Avion tequilas, along with Absolut and Deep Eddy vodka, will split team rights and have branded bars, along with Martell cognacs, a whiskey, and a rum.

“Spirits haven’t been a major revenue stream for MLS or NFL, but we will total a couple of million bucks a year for that category over the next five years,” Zulawski said.

Founding-level sponsors in the fold so far include Mercedes-Benz, AT&T, American Family Insurance, SunTrust, NCR, Coca-Cola, Equifax, Novellis, Home Depot and IBM.