MetLife has signed a 25-year agreement with the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets to name the Meadowlands venue MetLife Stadium.
More than two million fans attend events at the East Rutherford, N.J.-based stadium every year, and it will host Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014. As home to the Jets and Giants, like its predecessor, it is the only stadium that houses two NFL teams, both of which are ranked among the top five most valuable franchises in the league and have national fan bases.
The agreement makes New York-based MetLife the official insurance company of the Jets, Giants and the stadium complex, and includes interior and exterior branding on the venue. It also includes naming rights to the stadium; 120,000 square feet of branded space at the main west entrance; four illuminated signs on the exterior of the building; four inner-bowl signs and TV, radio, print and online media opportunities.
The stadium opened on April 10, 2010. At a construction cost of $1.6 billion, it is said to be the most expensive sports stadium ever built, and is the largest stadium in the NFL in terms of permanent seating capacity.
The pact was first reported in June by Sports Business Journal to be worth about $18 million a year. MetLife previously had paid a reported $7 million for a "cornerstone" sponsorship promoting its brand in a corner of the stadium.
The cornerstone sponsor concept provides four corporations their own branded zones, each of which serves as a main entrance to the stadium and offer integrated fan activities tailored for each organization. As the first cornerstone sponsor in 2010, MetLife was able to sign up 30,000 football fans for contests and promotions with prizes like free tickets and a fantasy football camp with the players.
The cornerstone sponsorship vacated by MetLife is now available, according to stadium officials. The other cornerstone sponsors are Pepsi, Bud Light and Verizon.
MetLife plans to expand its fan-focused sponsorship approach. The company provided hundreds of fans with one-of-a-kind opportunities in 2010. As the stadium sponsor, the financial services company plans to do even more this year, with unique experiences including tickets to big games, the opportunity to play on MetLife Stadium turf, face-to-face meetings with star players, field passes, trips to away games and signed memorabilia.
Beth Hirschhorn, chief marketing officer for MetLife, said the company was attracted to the diversity of audiences for the stadium's non-football events, such as international soccer games and concerts. "Hundreds of millions of people will experience events at MetLife Stadium either in person or via broadcasts from the venue," she says in a release.
This Friday, Aug. 26, Jets and Giants players will gather in New York's Bryant Park to celebrate with fans. The event will include game ticket giveaways and fan interaction opportunities. Attendees will include Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan with players Mark Sanchez and Darrelle Revis, and Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin with players Eli Manning and Justin Tuck. The event will be hosted by broadcast personality Mike Golic.
Allianz, a German-based financial services company previously expressed interest in purchasing naming rights to the stadium. The proposal was for a period of up to 30 years, and was estimated to be valued at somewhere between $20 million and $30 million USD. However, it sparked protests from New York's Jewish community and the Anti-Defamation League, which opposed the deal due to ties in the past between Allianz and the government of Nazi Germany during World War II. No agreement was reached, and talks between Allianz and the teams ended in September 2008.