New Shea Stadium

It could be closer than you think:

Citigroup Inc., eager to quell the controversy over how lenders are using government bailout money, is exploring the possibility of backing out of a nearly $400 million marketing deal with the New York Mets, say people familiar with the matter.

Officials at Citigroup have made no final decision about whether to try to void the 20-year agreement, which includes naming the Mets’ new baseball stadium after the bank, say these people.

In a statement Monday, Citigroup said that “no TARP capital will be used” for the stadium — referring to government funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. But as it revisits the pact, Citigroup is essentially acknowledging that the volatile political climate could make it untenable for the bank to proceed with the deal.

I’d be curious to see what kind of rights the Mets have under the marketing agreement. I presume that there is some sort of opt-out/buyout provision that would head off any lawsuits. But then again, if reasonable people were involved in all of this, the whole deal never would have happened in the first place.

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  1. Michael said...

    I’m just sick of ballparks being named after companies, period.  I think unless a ballpark is just in shambles, spending money on a new one is unconscionably irresponsible and frivolous.

  2. YankeesfanLen said...

    You don’t see Yankee Stadium participating in this nonsense. They’re holding out for WalMart stadium at 10% of gross revenues (of Walmart)
    Waiting for the UPS man with Joe Torre’s book to get here, then on-field nonsense will be displayed.

  3. Pete Toms said...

    I mentioned in a thread here yesterday that things have been strangely quiet re. the BofA deal with the Yankees…the last two paragraphs from today’s WSJ piece;

    “Bank of America has been in talks with the New York Yankees about a major sponsorship deal for the new Yankee Stadium, though the company’s name wouldn’t be on the building. That deal appeared near complete in the fall, but neither side has discussed the matter since then.”

    “Larry DiRita, a Bank of America spokesman, declined to comment on the company’s specific marketing arrangements. “These are normal banking relationships,” he said, noting that they are profitable for the bank.”

    Times have changed, yes indeed…

  4. Rob said...

    “no TARP capital will be used”

    Do they really think we’re all stupid enough to misunderstand the concept of fungible assets?

  5. Mac said...

    Yes, Rob.  They really do.  How often does a government agency say that the new tax/fee/lottery money is “only for education” or whatever?

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