Mercedes-Benz has signed a 10-year agreement to acquire naming rights to the Louisiana Superdome, which is home of the NFL's New Orleans Saints and the venue for as many as a record-breaking six Super Bowl games. This sponsorship deal actually began as part of small talk during a dealer meeting in Stuttgart, Germany.
But now, the New Orleans' landmark sports stadium has been renamed as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Tom Benson, the owner of Mercedes-Benz dealerships in New Orleans and San Antonio, owns the football team. Benson and Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Ernst Lieb were both at a dealer meeting in Stuttgart last April.
It was during this time that Benson made a casual mention that the team had gotten permission from the state of Louisiana to shop for naming rights for the stadium. Steve Cannon, vice president of marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA, said that it’s not like the company was looking for a stadium deal since these are “really big, high-dollar long-term deals."
Cannon quickly saw the marketing potential and started talks for a deal for an unspecified figure to snatch the naming rights. He added that this opportunity stands for a presence that’s a lot larger than anything that has been done in the past. The company didn’t release the financial terms of the agreement.
But a report from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans cited sources who revealed that the deal is valued at between $50 million and $60 million.
According to The New York Times, the money is meant to replace majority or all of the subsidies that the team gets from the state of Louisiana. The state gave a total of $186.5 million to the Saints under an older lease that expired in 2009. The annual payments in this new lease are capped at $6 million. The Times reported that the Saints acquired the right to sell the naming rights under the current lease.