The New Orleans Saints NFL American football team is seeking a new naming-rights partner for its home stadium after it was confirmed that Mercedes-Benz will not be renewing its sponsorship of the Superdome.
The German automotive manufacturer has sponsored the Superdome since 2011 and its 10-year deal will expire next year. Greg Bensel, the Saints’ senior vice-president of communications, has confirmed that the deal will not be renewed.
Mercedes-Benz became the first naming-rights sponsor of the iconic stadium, which opened in 1975 as the Louisiana Superdome. At the time, the deal was reported to be worth between $50m (£40.9m/€45.6m) and $60m.
“The agreement is not being renewed, based on Mercedes-Benz having other opportunities,” Bensel said in a statement reported by NOLA.com. “Mercedes-Benz has been an excellent partner for our team, the building and our region. We could not have asked for a more well-respected global company to have as our inaugural naming rights partner.”
The company also holds naming rights to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the home of rival NFL team the Atlanta Falcons, which opened in 2017.
In a statement to the Associated Press news agency, Mercedes-Benz said: “Each contract came about for different reasons rather than a desire to have two stadiums. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome was an opportunity that came to us during a time when we were trying to channel business and funds to New Orleans for the post- (Hurricane) Katrina rebuilding a decade ago.”
The statement added that Mercedes-Benz would fully support the Saints in exploring their options for a new sponsor.
The Saints will be responsible for appointing a new naming-rights sponsor and not the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (LSED), which owns the Superdome.
Bensel added: “The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is a globally iconic building that brings a tremendous valuable future for a naming-rights partner.
“As with the philosophy of the Saints organisation and the stature of the building, it will serve to represent our city, state and region as a leader to better our community, to be a more than just a naming rights opportunity, but a real partner, just as Mercedes-Benz was. And in that partnership, the goal will be to bring positive change to our region, our city and state, through a number of initiatives.”
The Superdome is set to undergo extensive renovation work ahead of hosting the 2024 edition of the NFL’s Super Bowl. Last month, questions were raised over whether the stadium would be able to stage the event due to a potential clash between an expanded NFL regular season and New Orleans’ annual Mardi Gras celebrations.
In November, Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (LSED) approved the first phase of a $450m renovation of the Superdome, with a construction firm appointed and the first renderings revealed for the project.
The Superdome has hosted the Super Bowl on seven previous occasions, most recently in 2013.
Image: Phil Roeder