There are various reports today that Citi Group is set to back out of the 20-year/$400 million naming rights deal signed in 2006 for Citi Field. Clearly, it’s bad PR for Citi to be spending lavishly on naming rights for a stadium when they’re laying people off and accepting public funds to stay afloat.
The Wall Street Journal states that Citi Group is exploring options on how to break the deal. They would owe the Mets quite a sum of money to bail out at this point, especially considering the Mets have been promoting this thing non-stop for three years.
To no one’s surprise, the Mets official site is claiming that Citi Group isn’t backing out of the deal. What else would you expect them to say? It’s a binding contract that Citi signed three years ago, and it’s going to stand.
My expectation is that Citi Group will quietly negotiate with the Mets to extricate themselves from this contract after the season ends.