By Barry Janoff
August 24, 2015: Calling it the biggest sports-related partnership in its history, Mercedes-Benz confirmed today that it would be the naming partner of the new Atlanta stadium, now officially called Mercedes-Benz Stadium, scheduled to open in 2017 as the home of the NFL's Falcons.
Upon its completion, the venue would also be home to the Major League Soccer's Atlanta United.
According to Steve Cannon, president and CEO for MBUSA, “It’s the biggest single market deal that we have ever done in the history of Mercedes-Benz, not just here in the United States, but globally.”
The move puts Mercedes-Benz in the unique position of having naming rights to two NFL stadiums, having signed a ten-year deal in 2011 for naming rights, valued at upward of $60 million, to what is known as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, home of the Saints.
Internationally, it has naming rights to the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China; and Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart, Germany.
Financial terms of the 27-year deal in Atlanta, which runs through 2042, were not disclosed, but were put at $12 million annually by industry analysts.
The automaker recently moved its U.S. headquarters from Montvale, NJ, to the Atlanta area.
"Mercedes-Benz fits all of the criteria we set out in finding a naming rights partner," Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, said during a media conference on Monday.
"Their name and reputation fit the iconic image of the building; they are committed to excellence in customer service and experience; their values mesh with those of the Falcons, Atlanta United and the rest of our businesses; and they are a company that embraces the communities in which they do business," said Blank.
The Mercedes-Benz brand will be prominent inside and outside the building, including on the roof, which is retractable; in plaza areas; on directional, on-field and tunnel signage; in club areas; in VIP parking and entrance areas; and on the "first-of-its-kind video halo board."
The multi-purpose stadium will also host other major sports and entertainment events, including the NCAA Men's Final Four in 2020. The Falcons plan to bid for the rights to host the NFL's Super Bowl LIII (2019) or Super Bowl LIV (2020). The stadium could also possibly be part of a U.S. bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026.
The crosstown Atlanta Braves of MLB are also moving, from Turner Field to SunTrust Park, now under construction and scheduled to open in 2017.
"We chose Atlanta as the foundation for the future of our company — a place where our brand, our employees, their families and our culture can thrive and grow," said Cannon. "This stadium is an opportunity to connect our brand to the promise and opportunity that this remarkable facility represents for Atlanta's future."
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