Mercedes-Benz sells Superdome naming rights

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Mercedes-Benz will not renew its naming rights contract with the Superdome if this contract ends at the end of this year.

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

Mercedes-Benz became the Superdome’s first naming rights sponsor since its establishment in 1975. It was one of the last NFL stadiums to have a naming rights partner. The sponsorship deal was initially not announced, but is believed to have ranged between $ 50 million and $ 60 million over a 10-year period.

The Saints are the main tenants of the cathedral and the most famous attraction in the 45 years of its existence. But with the naming rights to the dome, your name will also be associated with Super Bowls, the Sugar Bowl, the NCAA Final Fours, the Essence Festival, and many other major sporting events.

The Saints’ current lease with the Superdome runs through 2025. They will most likely sign with the state again.

Naming rights have existed for decades, but it is only in recent years that corporate sponsorship has become such an important part of stadium financing. Financially, it’s a boon to the companies that own and operate the stadiums. This naming rights agreement helped offset some of the burden on the state contribution to the Superdome.

But the naming did not always meet with approval. When a new venue is opened, it goes without saying that naming rights are attached to the venue.

But in the case of long-running stadiums that already have established names – like the former Louisiana Superdome or more casual The Superdome or The Dome – it’s hard to get local fans to choose the new name. Mercedes-Benz only offered a short stay here in the Crescent City, and most of the locals never got really warm to say the full name instead of just saying “The Dome”.

The Superdome was the vision of local businessman Dave Dixon who wanted to bring an NFL franchise to New Orleans in the early 1960s. Dixon convinced NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle to agree to a team in town on the condition that a dome stadium be 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 to fund the Superdome were fully collateralized.

The dome was supposed to be completed in time for the 1972 season, but as is so often the case in Louisiana, there were obstacles to 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 as planned in January 1975. Super Bowl IX was played at the old Tulane Stadium instead.

It was the last of three Super Bowls to be played at Tulane Stadium and, as fate would have it, it was played in cold and rainy conditions. This Super Bowl was the last professional game in Tulane, the original home of the Saints.

Of course, the Superdome was built primarily with a view of the New Orleans Saints, but it was always intended as a multi-purpose stadium and hosted NBA basketball, NCAA championships, mega-concerts, gymnastics, soccer, professional wrestling, and boxing among other major events.

One of the most iconic boxing moments in history happened at the Superdome, the Sugar Ray Leonard fight against Roberto Duran’s “No Mas”.

The Saints have an overall record of 185-171 in the Superdome, including a 7-5 record in dome playoff games. That’s a pretty good mark considering the Saints are still well below .500 in overall franchise wins.

The Superdome, too, has seen more misery than it would like to reveal. During Hurricane Katrina, it was a final refuge for many people unable to leave New Orleans. It wasn’t ready to function in that capacity. People left with little or no food and it wasn’t provided.

There was no electricity and the toilets were inoperative. The outer roof skin peeled off and water seeped into the building. No less than three people died in the building during this time.

But just as it is part of the dark history of the cathedral, the refurbishment and reopening of the stadium after Katrina is one of the most unforgettable moments in the history of the saints and, in part, in the history of sports as well.

In September 2006, the Superdome reopened when the Saints played against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. The entire sports world was spoiled with the spectacle, which for the first time publicly showed that New Orleans was about to recover.

The Goo Goo Dolls played a concert in the hall in front of the dome. For the pre-game inside, the legendary bands U2 and Green Day joined forces with the locally legendary Rebirth Brass Band and Trombone Shorty for the performance of “The Saints Are Coming”. Few times in the history of the Superdome have been so emotionally moving.

Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will continue its naming agreement with the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, as they are merely streamlining their sponsorship. They felt it was an exaggeration to sponsor two stadiums not only in the same sport but also in the same league.

The saints and the city will obviously be looking for a sponsor locally, nationally, and possibly worldwide, to name the building. It’s an iconic building in an iconic city. Its location near hotels, restaurants, and the French Quarter makes it one of the most desirable large event venues in the country. Despite being the fifth oldest venue in the NFL, it is constantly being updated and reinvented.

One group, the adult website StripChat, has offered $ 15 million in naming rights. It’s not clear whether this is a multi-year deal or a one-time deal. I don’t really know if it is either – it might just be a way for StripChat to get free advertising and have their name called as it is here.

Whoever is the next naming rights sponsor will have their name at the SEC Gymnastics Championship next March, the NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2022, and the Super Bowl LVIII in 2024

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