NEW YORK -- Goodbye, Shea Stadium; hello, CitiField.
The Mets and Citigroup Inc. have agreed on a 20-year sponsorship
deal for the team's new ballpark that is worth more than an average
of $20 million annually and includes stadium naming rights, a
baseball official said Saturday. The source spoke to The Associated
Press on condition of anonymity because the deal will not be
announced until Monday at the formal groundbreaking.
This will be a record for U.S stadium naming rights, topping the
approximately $10 million annually the NFL's Houston Texans receive
from Reliant Energy to call their home Reliant Stadium.
The agreement between the Mets and the financial services
company includes options for both the team and Citigroup that could
extend the deal to 35 years. Other commercial arrangements are part
of the contract, the official said.
Construction on the ballpark -- next to the current stadium in
Queens -- began last summer and is scheduled to be ready for the
2009 season. The Mets have played at Shea Stadium since 1964, the
team's third year in the league. The ballpark is named for William
A. Shea, a lawyer who helped bring National League baseball back to
The decision comes three months after the U.S. Tennis
Association renamed the nearby USTA National Tennis Center after
tennis great Billie Jean King.
Monday's announcement will take place at a ceremony to be
attended by Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Citigroup is one of the world's largest full-service banks, with
200 million customers in more than 100 countries.