MetLife name unveiled at stadium

Updated: August 23, 2011, 3:15 PM ET
By Matthew Ehalt | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants and New York Jets have agreed to a 25-year deal with MetLife to re-name New Meadowlands Stadium as MetLife Stadium, top officials from the parties announced at the stadium on Tuesday.

"It's an amazing thing. We couldn't have a better partner than MetLife," Jets chairman and chief executive officer Woody Johnson said. "When I think of iconic brands, there's no brand I can think of that goes better with us, the Jets, the Giants, NFL, the people that are currently in the building."

With the agreement, MetLife will be the official insurance company of the teams and the stadium complex, as it will now be named MetLife Sports Complex. The MetLife Sports Complex will include MetLife Stadium, the Timex Performance Center and Meadowlands Racetrack.

MetLife was the first cornerstone sponsor for the stadium, back when it was still Giants Stadium, joining forces with the two teams in 2008. New Meadowlands Stadium CEO Mark Lamping said MetLife would keep its cornerstone assets until it is sold to a new partner. The new stadium will be in its second year this upcoming season.

As benefit of having the naming rights to the stadium, MetLife also now has 120,000 square feet of branded space at an entrance, four illuminated signs on the stadium, four signs within the stadium and other advantages. The company also said in a press release it plans to increase it's "fan-focused sponsorship approach" with regard to the stadium.

The new stadium will host Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014.

"I'd say it was an added benefit," MetLife president and CEO Steven A. Kandarian said about hosting the Super Bowl. "Had there not been a Super Bowl, we still would have done this transaction."

The two teams had been close to reaching a naming deal with Allianz in 2008, but the deal fell apart because of the insurance company's ties to Nazi activities in the past.

Giants president and CEO John Mara said the teams thought that they would have a deal done earlier, but with the economy, it extended the time it took to find the right partner.

"I just want to say how pleased we are that MetLife has acquired the naming rights to our new stadium. It's truly an honor for our teams to be affiliated with such a wonderful partner for the next 25 years," Mara said.

The Giants and Jets will play the first game in the newly named stadium Saturday in their annual preseason game at 7 p.m. Players and coaches from both teams will also celebrate the new name of the stadium with an event in Bryant Park in Manhattan on Friday, starting at 1 p.m. Jets coach Rex Ryan, quarterback Mark Sanchez and cornerback Darrelle Revis, as well as Giants coach Tom Coughlin, quarterback Eli Manning and defensive end Justin Tuck are scheduled to attend.

Matthew Ehalt is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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