Citi and the Mets…quite the pair

After signing a 20-year, $400 million contract with the New York Mets in 2006 to name their new stadium Citi Field, Citigroup is facing hard times. The company recently received a controversial second multi-billion dollar rescue from the federal government, and has brought two councilmen, Vincent M. Ignizio and James S. Oddo, to suggest the stadium be called “Citi/Taxpayer Field.”

“Perhaps a name change is in order, since it will be the taxpayers of the country who will foot the bill for not only part of stadium, but for the company itself,” Ignizio said. “The taxpayers are spending billions for this company to maintain its operations and deserve the recognition for their largess.”

The Mets have remained fully committed to their deal with Citigroup. Despite their partner’s financial troubles, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon assured that neither side would be backing out of the deal.

“I think it’s good business and the morally right thing for both of our companies to be together, and for us to help Citi and for Citi to help us,” Wilpon said to MLB.com. “It’s a number of different platforms that we’re working together on, and there’s really nothing wrong with doing something that’s morally right and also ends up being good business.”

I don’t see how Citigroup should have its name on a stadium for the price of $400 million when the taxpayers are keeping them alive right now. Calling the stadium “Citi/Taxpayer Field” seems a little odd, and it really doesn’t have a nice ring to it. Isn’t there some way that the government can take away Citigroup’s naming rights, and have a company step in that actually can actually afford to spend that kind of money on a stadium name?

To get the Citigroup name out there would be something that helps the company, but to be spending all this money at a time when they are suffering just seems detrimental. They are currently being saved from a huge financial collapse by the government right now, and the Mets haven’t exactly had much success in recent years. The team has had two embarrassing late-season collapses in the past two years. No offense to the Mets and their fans, but is that a team Citigroup even wants to be associated with at a time like this?

Come to think of it, maybe Citigroup should keep naming rights to the Mets’ new stadium. It may fit both organizations really well. With such glaring similarities it could be a match made in…well somewhere, who knows? Time will tell if Citigroup can stay afloat and whether or not the Mets will finally have some success. For now, whatever these two organizations do, they will be doing it together.

-In an update on Tuesday, both the Yankees and Mets have asked the city for $450 million more in public bonds for their new ballparks. This is on top of the $1.5 billion they have already been granted. Now, with the taxpayers bailing out Citi and aiding its funding of CitiField…we have officially crossed the line of ridiculousness. Sure, new stadiums are nice; they will provide state of the art amenities and a great ballpark experience, but at what cost? Both stadiums are pretty old, but Yankee Stadium is still a historic landmark that’s sufficient enough for a few more years. And though Shea Stadium was a dump, with not much history behind it either, it was still a sufficient ballpark. (Kind of…but for the Mets, sure) The total number of public funding for these stadiums is now at or around $2 billion…need I say more?

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