Wednesday, January 06, 2010

When it comes to details of the Barclays naming-rights deal, the Times plays "he said, she said," leaving Ratner with the last word

A New York Times Sports section article today headlined What’s in a Naming Right? Certainly Not Cash discussed the lack of a naming-rights sponsor for the new Giants/Jets football stadium in the Meadowlands, and then gave Forest City Ratner some gentle treatment regarding its naming rights deal.

The Times reports:
For the Giants and the Jets, finding a naming-rights buyer for the new stadium will take time. If they planned to dedicate revenue from such a deal to help pay their construction debt, they will have to use money from other sources.

The market has been largely dormant and may never return to its prerecession peak, when Citigroup agreed in late 2006 to pay the Mets $400 million over 20 years to name the team’s ballpark Citi Field and Barclays followed soon after with a similarly priced deal to put its moniker on the Nets’ proposed arena in Brooklyn.
Who do you believe? The Nets or a document

The reporter on today's piece, Richard Sandomir, wrote a prominent article in January 2007 about the Barclays deal, but now treats the details as an episode of "he said, she said."

He writes:
The recession and the departure of the star architect Frank Gehry led to the renegotiation of some terms of the Barclays-Nets deal. According to a bond document, the arena naming rights were halved.

The Nets insist that they have given Barclays more for its sponsorship money and that the bank’s total annual payments, including fees for other rights, remain unchanged.
Have the Nets and Forest City Ratner--whose business relationship with the Times again went unmentioned--released any document that proves that claim? No. Until then, shouldn't the bond document be trusted as more authoritative?

An informational graphic and some circumstantial evidence

For a recent Sandomir puff piece about Nets guard Devin Harris's willingness to sign autographs for an hour, the Times produced a helpful informational graphic about Harris's public appearance.

For today's article, the Times could produce a helpful graphic that lays out 1) annual payments and 2) fees for other rights. Why? Because in 2007 there was no claim that other rights were worth $10 million a year.

Also, let's look at some circumstantial evidence. Given the difficulty in selling naming rights now--the point of the article--and the departure of architect Frank Gehry, isn't it plausible that Barclays might have negotiated a better deal?

Until these points are addressed Forest City Ratner's claims should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

No comments:

Post a Comment