How cool it would be to have a sports stadium named after me one day. It probably will never happen, especially not a professional sports stadium. But, I can take some comfort in knowing that I may be helping pay for naming rights to a Major League Baseball stadium. The New York Mets are preparing to open their new park, Citi Field, next season. Yes, that is "Citi" as in Citigroup, one of the financial institutions in line to receive a bailout from the federal government.
Citigroup committed to $400 million over 20 years for the rights to have its name on the new park. Engaging in a naming rights sponsorship can be a smart branding move... if you can afford it. Apparently, Citigroup can no longer afford it. What a painful reminder to New York and the country of the excesses of a financial institution that seeks a $300 billion bailout and laid off more than 50,000 employees. The stench is almost as bad as Enron Field in Houston, which disappeared swiftly following that company's demise in 2001.
One New York lawmaker has called for the name to be changed to "Citi Taxpayer Field." Here's a better idea: the New York Mets should renegotiate the deal or walk away from it altogether. The Mets must remember that their marketing partner's image can impact the image people have of the Mets. If Citigroup is perceived unfavorably, the financial gains of the naming rights deal could be offset by hits to the Mets' brand image.
Link: Fox News - "Lawmakers Fight to Rename Ballpark after Citibank Bailout"