Monday, February 09, 2009

Naming Rights vs. Bailout

I see that I'm not the only one who thinks it's wrong that Citibank and others can give out tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars to sports arenas for naming rights, then turn around and beg the federal government for bailout money. As far as I can tell, the furor seems to be contained to the New York area, since Citibank has agreed to pay the NY Mets $400 million over twenty years for the naming rights for the Mets' new stadium, set to begin use this year. But I wouldn't be surprised if it goes farther than that. This bears some research...

Mets' chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon says Citibank is right in continuing to pay the money. Of course he says that, he and his team are getting those millions. But I can't help thinking that his perspective is corrupted by the estimated half-billion dollars that the Mets' parent company, Sterling Equities, is rumored to have lost in the Bernie Madoff scandal.

It looks to me like the Feds are paying Citibank to replace what the Mets lost to Madoff. Pretty good deal, if you can arrange it...

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