Nearly 20% of the teams in the four major sports leagues have the name of a financial services company affixed to their home building.
Companies invest in stadium naming rights because it gives them long-term brand awareness, but banks seem to have a built a special relationship with sports.
That’s because when a bank buys a sponsorship, they’re not just getting the right to paste their name on a big building — they become financial partners with the team.
Bank sponsors can help with budgeting, ticketing, and even media rights. They’re able to issue affiliated credit and debit cards, set up ATM’s inside the venues, and have big box seats to use at their leisure.
That’s why banks have signed more than $2 billion worth of naming rights contracts since 1998, with deals ranging from five to 30 years.
JP Morgan Chase didn’t even get to rename Madison Square Garden when they spent $300 million to sponsor the venue, but that was fine with them, because their investment gave them so much behind-the-scenes access.
In 2008, in the midst of the subprime crisis, Citigroup decided to go through with their record $400 million naming rights deal with the New York Mets, garnering attention from Congress. The joint home of the New York Jets and New York Giants, the New Meadowlands Stadium, is expected to eclipse Citi’s mark if they ever manage to find a sponsor.
But since Citi’s monster move (and the increased scrutiny of the financial system) banks have been timid. The only pro sports naming rights contract signed since then was by regional EverBank, who agreed to a 5-year, $16.6 million deal last July to rename the home of the small-market Jacksonville Jaguars.
However, it’s only a matter of time until the big boys decide to take another stab at success in the lucrative world of naming rights.
Farmers Insurance has already offered up a whopping $700 million to put their name on a Los Angeles football stadium that hasn’t even broken ground yet.
Market Cap: ~$203.4 billion
Home Team: Buffalo Sabres (NHL)
HSBC inherited the naming rights to the arena from Marine Midland Bank
Market Cap: N/A
Home Team: Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL)
Market Cap: ~$61.2 billion
Home Team: Ottawa Senators (NHL)
Market Cap: ~$70.2 million
Home Team: Florida Panthers (NHL)
Market Cap: ~$33.5 billion
Home Team: Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)
Market Cap: ~$4.7 billion
Home Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL)
Before its 2011 expiration date the contract was extended through 2015.
Market Cap: ~$173.2 billion
Home Teams: Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), Philadelphia Flyers (NHL)
Wells Fargo inherited the naming rights to the arena from Wachovia
Market Cap: ~$41.1 billion
Home Team: Philadelphia Phillies (MLB)
Market Cap: ~$179.2 billion
Home Team: Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)
JP Morgan Chase inherited the naming rights to the stadium from Bank One of Chicago
Market Cap: ~$6.9 billion
Home Team: Detroit Tigers (MLB)
Market Cap: ~$10.5 billion
Home Team: Baltimore Ravens (NFL)
Market Cap: ~$411.4 million
Home Team: Carolina Hurricanes (NHL)
Market Cap: ~$11.7 billion
Home Team: Denver Broncos (NFL)
Market Cap: ~$68.6 billion
Home Team: Boston Celtics (NBA)
Market Cap: ~$9.7 billion
Home Team: Philadelphia Eagles (NFL)
Market Cap: ~$146.0 billion
Home Team: Carolina Panthers (NFL)
Market Cap: ~$138.9 billion
Home Team: New York Mets (MLB)
Market Cap: ~$61.6 billion
Home Team: New Jersey Nets (NBA), starting in 2012
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