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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Mets and Citi -- Sign of the Times

Why should this be on the table? Why would Citi, which had announced it was cutting 50,000 jobs, still going to ante up $400 million for the naming rights of the Mets' home field. The only logical explanation is that it's a rock-solid contractual commitment with strict penalties if terminated. Absent that, what on earth is Citi thinking?

Sure, they want to support the team of many of their customers, but what about their employees and the taxpayers? Banks have been grossly mismanaged, loaned money poorly and are now sopping up our tax dollars to fortify their balance sheets. In exchange, we expect that they do their best to honor the taxpayers who are bailing them out (not to mention their employees and their shareholders). So, what's with ponying $400 million to put your name on the field? (Then again, if Bernie Madoff made off with a big bolus of the Wilpons' money, perhaps the Mets really need the Citi infusion to bolster the franchise).

At any rate, the whole sponsorship looks silly. AIG ended its sponsorship of Manchester United, so now its name won't appear on the jerseys of the most famous soccer team in the world. Citi should strongly consider doing the same.

It's a sign of the times that the sign on the ball field should say something else.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible waste of money for a bank needing public funds.

Didn't I hear that Citi is moving away from being a consumer bank?

I somehow don't thin they'll get the return on their investment on a stadium name.

7:26 PM  

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