Friday, January 30, 2009

Kucinich asks Citigroup to give up Citifield naming rights deal

Representatives Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Ted Poe (R-TX) have asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to demand that Citigroup dissolve its $400 million naming rights contract for the New York Mets, known as Citifield.

Citigroup has received more than $350 billion in taxpayer money from economic stabilization efforts and loans, the letter notes.

"In every state, American homes are foreclosed and people put on the street. At Citigroup, 50,000 people will lose their jobs. Yet in the boardroom of Citigroup, spending $400 million to put a name on stadium seems like a good idea. The Treasury Department, which forced Citigroup corporate executives to give up their private jet, should also demand that Citigroup cancel its $400 million advertisement at the Mets field and instead begin to repay their debt to the taxpayers," stated Kucinich.

Essentially, the naming rights agreement is a marketing expense, and even banks that take federal money aren't being asked to stop marketing, are they? (Can egregious marketing expenses be regulated?)

But it's probably not a marketing expense--at least at $20 million a year--that the bank would make today.

Barclays Capital has so far avoided nationalization. But the discussion about the Atlantic Yards arena naming rights deal might get interesting if the U.K. government does end up bailing out the bank.

1 comment:

  1. Even if Citigroup wanted to back out of the deal (unlikely) and even if the Mets wanted to let them back out of the deal (even less likely), how much money would it cost to get all the signage changed by opening day?

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