October 4th, 2011

Mercedes-Benz buys naming rights to New Orleans' Superdome

By Chris Woodyard,
USA TODAY

One of the top luxury brands in the world will pin its name to the Superdome in New Orleans, the stadium that came to symbolize the city’s agony during Hurricane Katrina and later its comeback.

Mercedes-Benz USA is announcing that it will have naming rights for the Superdome in a 10-year agreement. The deal caps the complete renovation finished this summer of the 73,000-seat home to the NFL’s Saints and site of the 2013 Super Bowl.

With MetLife taking over naming rights for the New York Giants and New York Jets’ $1.6 billion stadium in New Jersey and other deals, experts say the stadium naming-rights business is finally rebounding.

For the Superdome, it’s about prestige. “This is yet another sign to the entire country that New Orleans and the state are coming back stronger (from) Katrina,” said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. The state owns the dome, opened in 1975. The Republican said Mercedes is a “natural partner” for the Superdome.

Saints owner Tom Benson, who owns Mercedes dealerships in New Orleans and San Antonio, says the new name will show everyone that the Big Easy isn’t just a “sleepy little town...That hurricane woke everyone up.” Benson credits his wife with broaching the idea of enticing Mercedes into buying naming rights for the stadium in a meeting with Mercedes’ U.S. officials in Germany last April. “It worked out great for everyone,” he says.

Read more: http://usat.ly/q7Svne

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