New York Mets, Citigroup strike 20-year stadium sponsorship deal

Saturday, November 11th 2006, 3:57 pm

By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) Goodbye, Shea Stadium; hello, CitiField.

The Mets and Citigroup Inc. have agreed on a 20-year sponsorship deal for the team's new ballpark that is worth more than an average of US $20 million annually and includes stadium naming rights, a baseball official said Saturday.

The source spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal will not be announced until Monday at the formal groundbreaking.

This will be a record for U.S stadium naming rights, topping the approximately $10 million annually the NFL's Houston Texans receive from Reliant Energy to call their home Reliant Stadium.

The agreement between the Mets and the financial services company includes options for both the team and Citigroup that could extend the deal to 35 years. Other commercial arrangements are part of the contract, the official said.

Construction on the ballpark, next to the current stadium in Queens, began last summer and is scheduled to be ready for the 2009 season. The Mets have played at Shea Stadium since 1964, the team's third year in the league. The ballpark is named for William A. Shea, a lawyer who helped bring National League baseball back to New York.

The decision comes three months after the U.S. Tennis Association renamed the nearby USTA National Tennis Center after tennis great Billie Jean King.

Monday's announcement will take place at a ceremony to be attended by Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Citigroup is one of the world's largest full service banks, with 200 million customers in more than 100 countries.

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