The return to near-normalcy of the National Football League has helped legions of brand marketeers to breathe more easily, and has loosened a logjam of potential deals that were held up as the NFL and its players slogged through resolution of their labor dispute. Presumably, one of those deals now is coming out in the form of the formalization of MetLife's deal to purchase the naming rights for the Meadlowlands Stadium in New Jersey, which shall henceforth be known as MetLife Stadium.
It's a lot better deal for the insurance giant to be spreading its brand all over (and around) the playing field for the New York Giants and New York Jets than to be observing the action from high above in the MetLife blimp, as the company became known for doing. The 25-year deal for the Meadowlands -- the nation's most expensive sports stadium, at a cost of $1.6 billion, and the only one that houses two NFL teams -- gives MetLife interior and exterior branding on the venue as well as naming rights, extra signs and branded features at various spots in the stadium, and of course opportunities in print, TV and other media.
According to Sports Business Journal, the deal is worth about $18 million a year. Pepsi, Bud Light and Verizon represent the next tier of primary brand sponsors at the Meadowlands. MetLife's ascension from that level to the pinnacle opens a spot for a new brand to join the other three.
Reportedly, MetLife considered not only the huge potential rewards from its NFL exposure in the Northeast, its strongest market nationwide, but also from other events in the stadium such as soccer tournaments and concerts.
Even amid the dour economy, naming rights to stadia seem to be one thing that keep attracting brands. Rutgers University, for example, recently sold rights to its stadium to High Point Solutions for $6.5 million.
However, at least one NFL team doesn't seem about to sell its stadium's moniker. The Green Bay Packers announced today a plan to add to their recent on- and off-the field success by installing about 6,600 more seats in Lambeau Field, which was completely refurbished about a decade ago. The Super Bowl champions plan to break ground on the $130-million project next week.
So whatever the vaguaries of the U.S. economy on the outside world, inside football stadia, business is still humming. MetLife is counting on it.