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Naming Agreement Means The New Orleans Saints'll Come Benz-in' In ('Til 2022, Anyway)

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On: Wed, Oct 5, 2011 at 11:26AM | By: Andrew W Davis


Naming Agreement Means The New Orleans Saints'll Come Benz-in' In ('Til 2022, Anyway)

The folks that bring you custom helicopters, branded credit cards, the ridiculous smart transport module, a line of "manly" perfumed products, and the occasional car, now bring you the Superdome.

I am not kidding.

When you think “Louisiana”, “NFL”, and “New Orleans Saints”, naturally your mind turns to fine German automobiles, right? Well, for the next decade it will, as Mercedes-Benz has paid an “undisclosed amount” for “official naming rights among other sponsorship benefits” for the aforementioned NFL team’s home stadium.

I'm still not kidding.

It’s true: “Mercedes-Benz USA and its three-pointed star are setting roots down at the Louisiana Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints, through a 10-year agreement that provides official naming rights among other sponsorship benefits, including being named the Official and Exclusive vehicle of the NFL's Saints. The newly named Mercedes-Benz Superdome is playing host to several upcoming premier events including 2012 Men's Final Four and BCS Championship Game in addition to the 2013 Super Bowl.”

Why on Earth would Mercedes-Benz—even the part with “USA” at the end of its name—participate in what is termed the “first naming rights deal in the U.S. for the luxury car maker and also for the legendary New Orleans sports and exhibition stadium” even if it “recently completed a six-year $336 million renovation project that is positioning the stadium as a premier destination for major events for years to come”?

Ernst Lieb, the President and CEO of that aforementioned “USA”-suffixed bit of Mercedes-Benz explains it thusly: “The joining of the Mercedes-Benz brand with the world-class Saints organization and the Superdome, an iconic destination which has undergone an incredible transformation over the past six years, is a significant moment for us, the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. Our commitment over the next decade is to the Saints fans, team, and this famous community as it flourishes beyond anyone's expectations.”

Still not sold? Well, here’s how M-B’s PR people put it:

“The undisclosed cost of the 10-year agreement has many benefits and opportunities for Mercedes-Benz including branding and signage throughout and nearby the newly named Mercedes-Benz Superdome. In addition, the Saints print and online publications will feature Mercedes-Benz content and advertising and the Company will have access to Saints coaches and players for special events and promotions. Mercedes-Benz plans to leverage its access to many of the events to create unique programs such as customer and fan appreciation activities.”

And the enthusiasm—as you might imagine—for this Stuttgart-sourced Superdome-naming sweepstakes windfall isn’t limited to those with three-pointed stars on their paychecks.

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson adds:

"I am thrilled to be able to announce a winning and long-term partnership between the Saints, Mercedes-Benz and now the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Mercedes-Benz brand represents the very best in its industry and we believe that is a perfect fit for this stadium, which as a result of the unprecedented and innovative renovation project recently completed is one of the world's greatest sporting venues. We felt strongly it was essential that if we were to offer the name of our building to a company, it would be one that all of our fans and the State of Louisiana would be proud of. The investment being made by a premier international brand who believes in ‘the best or nothing’ is a tremendous compliment to all of those who worked so hard to make the stadium what it is today."

Turns out he’s right about the State of Louisiana’s state of proud-ness. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal states:

“This is a great, great partnership. I know for many years there have been attempts to sell this sponsorship, and I think the restructured deal and the new Superdome are two of the reasons this is actually happening. So I think this is great for the Saints and great for the state."

So forget the dubious reasoning behind this move and don’t speculate about how many bales of Euros the ‘Benz boys had to shovel Louisiana’s way as everyone seems quite happy about the arrangement regardless.

Personally, I would’ve liked the change to “DaimlerSaints” as well, but—strangely—I wasn’t consulted....


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