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Giants, Jets Wait for Right Stadium Name — and Price

Fri July 03, 2009 - Northeast Edition
Tom Canavan - AP Sports Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The Giants and Jets are willing to wait for the right price before selling the naming rights to their new $1.6 billion stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands.

Giants Chief Executive John Mara said June 17 the teams have had recent negotiations with several companies and that interest in the naming rights has been renewed despite the economic crisis.

Mara said a deal is not close and emphasized that the two NFL teams would not reach an agreement just to have one in place when the 2010 football season opens.

“I think it is more important to have the right deal, so if it means having to wait beyond the opening of the building, we’ll do that,’’ Mara said. “I don’t think that will be the case. I think we will have something done before then.

“I think once we get close to the end of construction and the start [of the season], we will have concerts and college games scheduled to come in that will build excitement,’’ he added.

Mara did not name the companies involved in the talks nor an asking price for the naming rights.

The teams were close to a deal last fall with Allianz that would have been worth an estimated $30 million annually. Negotiations, however, ended when it was disclosed that the German insurance company once had ties to the Nazis, a revelation that brought criticism from Jewish organizations, Holocaust survivors and football fans who said seeing the company’s name emblazoned on the stadium would be a constant reminder of the Holocaust.

The Giants announced a 15-year agreement with Timex for the naming rights to their new training facility and corporate headquarters, also in the Meadowlands sports complex.

Mara would not disclose the specific financial terms, but the Giants can earn as much as $3 million annually.

“This was a big step for us because it demonstrates that there are companies out there still open for business and who want to enter into these types of arrangements,’’ Mara said.

Hans-Kristian Hoejsg, the chief executive and president of the Timex Group, said the economic crisis will end and his company wanted to invest with a long-term view.

“You have to make these bold moves in down times,’’ he said. “You have to be in a sound financial position, which we are privileged to be, and we can take those risks.’’

Mara disclosed that the teams have signed agreements for three of the stadium’s four so-called “cornerstone partners.’’ They will have exclusive naming rights to brand one of the four main entrances to the stadium.

MetLife Inc., Verizon and Anheuser-Busch have agreed to be three of the cornerstone partners. Mara hopes to have a fourth before the end of the year.

Mara said the new stadium hopes to have its first event in April, an NCAA lacrosse game. He added that concerts are planned throughout the spring and summer, months before the first football game.

The Giants have one year left on their training camp deal at the University at Albany, N.Y. Mara said the team has not decided whether to return.

He said the team might train at its new headquarters or split time between New Jersey and Albany, noting the three new grass fields at the New Jersey facility might not stand up if used for training camp.

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