Citi Group’s announcement that they intend to move forward with their 20 year commitment at $20 million per year with the Mets came this past week. Only days later the company announced that it would lay off more than 50,000 employees.
To those of you that work at Citi, or those of us that have friends and family there these near simultaneous announcements came as a bit of a shock. But they shouldn’t. Citi Group gladly accepted a taxpayer bailout of $20 billion two weeks ago, and our tax money secured more than $300 billion in risky loans and securities owned by Citi.
I understand the Mets desire to keep the deal in place. But couldn’t Citi at least attempt to re-negotiate the deal given today’s economic climate and their own financial failures? That’s the part that really surprises me.
I never expected Citi to give up on their marketing efforts, of which naming Citi Field is a part. They’ve got to make a good faith effort to generate revenue despite their current disposition.
In my opinion the Mets squandered an opportunity to gain some good PR by not announcing their intention to negotiate the naming deal down when Citi accepted the government bailout package. Now the Mets are getting our money on tickets and the naming rights deal.
I want to see a championship product on the field as much as the next fan, but double-dipping us isn’t the way to do it.