OVG to market Superdome naming rights

The New Orleans Saints NFL American football team has appointed Oak View Group to sell naming rights for its home stadium, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

German automotive manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has sponsored the Superdome since 2011 but it was confirmed in May that the company would not be extending its deal when it expires next year.

Mercedes-Benz became the first naming-rights sponsor of the stadium, which opened in 1975 as the Louisiana Superdome. At the time, it was reported that the deal was worth between $50m (£38.8m/€42.8m) and $60m.

The Saints’ search for a new stadium sponsor will be supported by Oak View Group, the US-based venue and management company. Matt Webb, the Saints’ vice-president of corporate partnerships, told Sports Business Daily that the team considered “five or six” agencies before selecting OVG.

“We wanted a world-class agency to help us find the next partner for a world-class building, and we really believe (OVG’s president of global partnerships) Dan Griffis and his team represent that type of agency,” said Webb.

Griffis added: “I kind of look at the Mount Rushmore of stadiums in the world … and the Superdome is one of those buildings that would absolutely be on that list. Those types of buildings don’t become available for sale very often, and when it does, it presents a unique opportunity unlike anything we’ve ever done.”

It is hoped a new deal can be struck by July, when the Mercedes-Benz agreement expires. The company also sponsors Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of rival NFL team the Atlanta Falcons, which opened in 2017.

The Superdome is set to undergo extensive renovation work ahead of hosting the Super Bowl in 2024. In April, questions were raised over whether the stadium would be able to stage the NFL’s showpiece event due to a potential clash between an expanded regular season and New Orleans’ annual Mardi Gras celebrations.

Oak View Group has signed a number of major naming-rights deals so far this year, most recently with UK consumer cooperative Co-op for its planned 23,500-seat arena in the English city of Manchester.

OVG also struck deals with Amazon for the new home of NHL ice hockey team Seattle Kraken, and with UBS for the new home of the NHL’s New York Islanders. Earlier in the year, OVG signed a deal with Subaru for naming rights to the home stadium of Major League Soccer franchise Philadelphia Union.

Image: Phil Roeder/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size