OVG to scout Superdome naming rights partner


New Orleans Mercedes Benz Superdome Image: neworleans.com

The services of the venue development company Oak View Group (OVG) has been sought by the National Football League’s (NFL’s) New Orleans Saints to help secure a new naming rights partner for their residence – Mercedes-Benz Superdome (US) – after their current partner Mercedes-Benz chose not to renew its agreement.

Stephen Collins, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Oak View Group, US, will be one of the Speakers at the Coliseum Online Week US Worldwide to be held from October 19th-23rd, 2020.

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome, often referred to simply as the Superdome, is a domed sports and exhibition stadium located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.

The New Orleans Saints are a professional American football team based in New Orleans. The Saints compete in the NFL as a member of the league’s National Football Conference South division.

The luxury automaker had been paying about $5m per year for the naming rights to the 45-year-old facility. It will not be a cakewalk to sell the naming rights of the Superdome at the above price in the new pact going by the ageing structure as well as the smaller size of the New Orleans market.

As per local reports, it’s an aggressive pitch, considering those numbers would roughly double the amount Mercedes-Benz paid in 2011. At that time, the company signed a deal between $50 million and $60 million, paying about $5.5 million a year.

However, the Superdome will soon undergo a $450m renovation, and is slated to hold the Super Bowl LVIII (the 54th modern era NFL championship) in 2024, the 2022 Final Four in college basketball, and maintains the Sugar Bowl in college football that is part of the College Football Playoff rotation.

Additionally, the OVG this year has been a substantial industry run of new naming rights agreements on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, going on a signing spree – striking deals for a new indoor arena in Manchester, England; and the United States – Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington; UBS Arena in Elmont, New York; and Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania.

The OVG has entered into a 12-month agreement with the New Orleans Saints as per which the former has to get a new naming rights partner before the 2021 NFL season starts next September.

The OVG division inked a 12-month contract with the Saints with a deadline to get a deal done before the 2021 NFL season, informed Dan Griffis, President, OVG Global Partnerships.

Griffis thinks the Saints can sign a new partner for 10 years with an annual value approaching $10 million a year, considering recent deals for new NFL stadiums and realigned structures like the Hard Rock Stadium.

Mercedes-Benz signed its deal in part because Saints owner Tom Benson owned a dealership. (Benson died in 2018 and his widow, Gayle Benson, now owns the team.) Five years ago, Mercedes-Benz signed naming rights for the NFL and Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium in Atlanta that opened in 2017.

Griffis said the new partner in New Orleans could be a national sponsor due to the magnitude of events that take place at the 45-year-old venue or an international firm that wants to make its presence felt in the US over the next decade.

“I consider the Superdome to be one of the most iconic sports venues ever built. If there’s a Mount Rushmore of sports facilities, the Superdome has got to be on it. The events that it’s hosted over the years clearly put it at the top, whether it’s the Final Four, Super Bowl or college football championship,” Griffis added.

“There are only about six stadiums in the rotation for the Super Bowl these days, including the Superdome. You add all that stuff up and we feel they can get a really good number.”

Matt Webb, the Saints’ Vice-President, Corporate Partnerships, is leading the whole initiative internally.

For OVG, Nate Liberman and Ben Silver will team with Griffis to broker the deal.

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