Citi/Taxpayer Field? Really?November 26, 2008
A couple years ago, the New York Mets inked a 20 year $400 Million deal with CitiGroup for the naming rights of their new ballpark that opens in 2009 (“CitiField“). Unfortunately CitiGroup has fallen upon hard times, will cut 52,000 jobs and has been bailed out by the government so that it doesn’t completely fold.
With that said, now you have a couple New York City Council Members proposing that the Mets and Citi Group change the name of the ballpark from “Citi Field” to “Citi/Taxpayer Field”. Let me just start out by saying that I think this name change proposal is one of the silliest ideas I have ever heard. You actually want to name the ballpark “Taxpayer”? Really?
I completely understand how this looks. You have a company that is being supported by the government, cutting jobs left and right and yet they have $400 million to spend on naming rights to a baseball park over the next 20 years. I get it and yes in these times of economic struggle CitiGroup should be cutting unnecessary costs and trying to keep as many people employed as possible.
At the same time let’s remember a couple things:
1. This deal was agreed upon years ago long before CitiGroup began having financial trouble.
2. In no way shape or form should the New York Mets be blamed for any of the controversy surrounding the name. They inked a deal with CitiGroup and if CitiGroup cannot hold up their part of the bargain, then the out clauses in the contract need to be evaluated and some type of settlement should be reached.
Here is how I would resolve this if I were the Mets. First, I pay no attention to these council members. This is a clear attempt by a couple politicians to gain some publicity for themselves and stir the pot if you will. Second, I have my attorney’s review the contract, look at the out clauses and see what I can do to get out of these deal as quickly as possible. The Mets are in a position where they cannot win. I don’t blame them for this mess but you cannot have your ballpark named after a company and industry that has heavily stuck smack in the middle of the country’s economic crisis.
I know this leaves the Mets with a “No Name” park and egg on their face just four-five months before opening day but the Mets have to show some sensitivity here to the general public. Get out of the deal as painlessly as possible and find a new sponsor as quickly as possible.
As a side note….Mets fans any surprise that something like this would happen to us? We closed Shea Stadium in the worse possible way and now open the new ballpark under a cloud of controversy. LOL
What are you thoughts on the Citi Field controversy? Any good ideas for a new ballpark name?
* Photo credit: New York Mets