Mercedes-Benz drops naming rights for Superdome

Mercedes-Benz will not be renewing its naming rights agreement with the Superdome when that contract ends at the end of this year.

Mercedes-Benz USA announced last week that it would not be renewing its naming rights agreement with the Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints. The Saints will seek a new naming rights partner in 2021, when the current deal expires.

Mercedes-Benz became the first naming rights sponsor for the Superdome since it was built in 1975. It was one of the last NFL stadiums to have a naming rights partner. The sponsorship deal was not disclosed initially, but it was reportedly between $ 50 million and $ 60 million over 10 years.

The Saints are the main tenants of the Dome and the most remarkable attraction during the 45 years of its existence. But along with the naming rights of the Dome, you also have your name associated with Super Bowls, Sugar Bowl, NCAA Final Fours, Essence Festival, and so many other major sporting events.

The Saints’ current lease with the Superdome runs until 2025. They are very likely to re-sign with the state.

Naming rights have been around for decades, but it’s only in recent years that corporate sponsorships have made up such a large part of stadium funding. Financially, it is a boon for the entities that own and operate the stadiums. This naming rights deal helped offset some of the burden of the state’s contribution to the Superdome.

But the denomination was not always approved. When opening a new location, it is assumed that there will be naming rights associated with the location.

But in the case of long-running stadiums that already have established names – like the old Louisiana Superdome, or the more laid-back The Superdome or The Dome – it’s a tough sell to draw local fans around the new name. Mercedes-Benz offered only a short stay here in the town of Crescent, and most locals never quite warmed up enough to pronounce the full name just saying “The Dome.”

The Superdome was the vision of local businessman Dave Dixon, who was looking to bring an NFL franchise to New Orleans in the early 1960s. Dixon convinced NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle to accept a team in. the city, provided that a domed stadium was built due to the heat and frequent thunderstorms.

Dixon’s visit to the Houston Astrodome with Louisiana Governor John McKeithen conveyed the promise of a domed stadium. The Saints were awarded to New Orleans a week before the bonds were fully collateralized to fund the Superdome.

The Dome was supposed to have been completed in time for the 1972 season, but as is too often the case in Louisiana, there were hurdles in getting the job done. Construction did not begin until 1971 and was not completed until August 1975.

This delay and overshoot cost the Saints and the city the opportunity to host a Super Bowl in the Dome in January 1975, as planned. Instead, Super Bowl IX was played at the old stadium in Tulane.

It was the last of three Super Bowls played at Tulane Stadium and, as fate intended, was played in cold and rainy conditions. This Super Bowl was the last professional game held at Tulane, which was the original home of the Saints.

Of course, the Superdome was built primarily with the New Orleans Saints in mind, but has always been designed to be a multi-purpose stadium and has hosted NBA basketball, NCAA Championships, mega-concerts, gymnastics, football, professional wrestling and boxing. among other major events.

One of the most iconic boxing moments in history occurred in the Superdome, the Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Duran “No Mas” fight.

The Saints have an overall win-loss record of 185-171 in the Superdome, which includes a 7-5 record in the Dome playoffs. That’s a pretty good rating considering the Saints are still well below .500 in terms of total franchise wins.

The Superdome has also experienced more misery than it would like to reveal. During Hurricane Katrina, it was a refuge of last resort for many who could not leave New Orleans. He was not ready to function in this capacity. People went there with little or no food and it was not provided there.

There was no electricity and the toilet was not functional. The exterior roof covering came off and water entered the building. No less than three people died in the building during this period.

But just as it is part of the Dome’s dark history, the renovation and reopening of the stadium after Katrina is one of the most unforgettable moments in the history of the Saints and, to some extent, in the history of sport. .

In September 2006, the Superdome reopened with the Saints playing the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. The entire sporting world was treated to the spectacle which was the first audience to show that New Orleans was going to recover.

The Goo Goo Dolls performed in the lobby outside the Dome. Inside for the pre-match, iconic bands U2 and Green Day teamed up with legendary Rebirth Brass Band and Trombone Shorty to perform “The Saints Are Coming”. Few times in the history of the Superdome have been so moving.

Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will continue its naming rights deal with Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, as they are simply streamlining their sponsorships. They felt that sponsorship of two stadiums not only in the same sport, but also in the same division was excessive.

The Saints and the city will obviously be looking locally, nationally and potentially globally for a sponsor to put their name on the building. It is an iconic building in an iconic city. Its location so close to hotels, restaurants and the French Quarter makes it one of the country’s most popular major sites. Despite being the 5th oldest site in the NFL, it continues to update and reinvent itself.

One group, the adult website StripChat, offered $ 15 million for naming rights. It is not clear whether this is a multi-year or one-time transaction offer. I’m not sure if it’s one or the other – it might just be a way for StripChat to get free advertising and get their name mentioned as it is here.

Whoever sponsors the naming rights next, their name will appear in the SEC Gymnastics Championship next March, the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2022, and Super Bowl LVIII in 2024. It’s a series of events. in good health.

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