Citigroup


I read today that two New York City Council members want the new Mets ballpark named Citi/Taxpayer Field in reference to the federal bailout of Citigroup, which owes $400 million over the next 20 years to call the stadium Citi Field. After all, Citigroup will be able to pay that $400 million thanks to an infusion of taxpayer dollars.

I’d like to say I suggested the name change first, but I’m sure plenty of people, especially New Yorkers, proposed the same thing. (For the record, I suggested the name U.S. Taxpayers Field in a post on this blog Nov. 24, the day the Bush administration announced it would bail out Citigroup.)

Regardless, today I came across a well-written column by Newsday‘s Wallace Matthews about this topic and the “unholy marriage” of Citigroup and the Mets. Here’s a link to the column: http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/ny-spwally265942390nov26,0,5323479.column.

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After hearing of the Bush administration’s decision to put $20 billion toward the rescue of Citigroup, I wondered about the status of the investment bank’s 20-year naming-rights deal for the new New York Mets stadium that opens next year. A quick Google search showed that several media outlets are on top of that story.

“We remain committed to our relationship with the Mets. It’s an important marketing priority for us,” Citigroup spokesman Steve Silverman told Reuters.

So apparently, for now, the new ballpark is still going to be called Citi Field. Citigroup will still pay the Mets $20 million annually for 20 years. That means struggling Citigroup’s financial commitment to the Mets is $400 million spread over the next two decades.

I can’t believe Citigroup really will fulfill its end of that bargain. After all, even General Motors was smart enough to scale back its expensive endorsement deal with pro golfer Tiger Woods.

In any case, since Citigroup insists on still having the naming rights to the new Mets stadium, it shouldn’t call the ballpark Citi Field. I suggest it instead be called U.S. Taxpayers Field, since $20 billion in taxpayers’ money was just used to bail out the company.