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Sep232010

The Rights Stuff: Gillette Extends Naming Rights For New England Patriots' Home Field

September 23, 2010: The New England Patriots can brag about something that fellow NFL teams such as the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and New York Jets can't: A naming rights deal to their home stadium. Gillette has signed a new agreement with The Kraft Group extending the company's strategic marketing and business partnership, which includes exclusive naming and sponsorship rights to Gillette Stadium through 2031.

The 69,000-seat venue is home to the Patriots and the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer, all three of which are owned by The Kraft Group, headed by Robert Kraft. The venue officially opened in May 2002, at which time technology firm CMGI, now known as ModusLink, held naming rights. Gillette, headquartered in Boston, took over naming rights in August of that year.

Financial terms were not disclosed. However, a large percentage of naming rights that companies have with stadiums primarily used by NFL teams fall in the $4-$7 million per year range.

"This extension continues our successful relationship with the Kraft family and one of the strongest sports franchises in the world," Chip Bergh, group president,  global male grooming, for Procter & Gamble, Gillette's parent company, said in a statement. The naming of Gillette Stadium has been a great investment for our business." The Stadium is located in Foxboro, Mass., about 20 miles south of Boston.

In addition to the Gillette Stadium naming rights deal, P&G's portfolio of sports marketing assets includes agreements with the NFL, Nascar, Major League Baseball and the International Olympic Committee.

"Like the Patriots, Gillette has a long history in New England and we are proud to partner with a local company that is a powerful world-class brand," Jonathan Kraft, president of The Kraft Group, said in a statement. "Gillette is not just a naming rights partner, but a company we are proud to partner with on many platforms."

Among current naming rights deals for stadiums primarily used by NFL teams, the deal Reliant Energy has for naming rights to the home stadium of the Houston Texans is at the high end, about $9.6 million per year via a 32-year pact signed in 2000 that runs through 2032. In 2006, the University of Phoenix  signed a 20-year deal for more than $154 million, about $7.7 million per year, for naming rights to the home stadium of the Arizona Cardinals. FedEx pays about $7.6 million a year for naming rights to the home of the Washington Redskins in a deal that runs  through 2025.

"Like the Patriots, Gillette has a long history in New England and we are proud to partner with a local company that is a powerful world-class brand."

Lucas Oil signed a 20-year deal estimated at $121 million for naming rights to home stadium of Indianapolis Colts, which began when venue opened in 2008. Lincoln Financial pays about $6.7 million a year for naming rights to the home venue of the Philadelphia Eagles in a deal that runs through 2022. And Invesco Funds pays about $6 million a year for naming rights to the Denver Broncos home field in a 20-year deal that runs through 2021.

The biggest naming rights deals currently in play are the 20-year, $400 million pacts Citibank and Barclays are paying, respectively, for rights to the New York Mets home Citi Field and the NBA Nets' Barclays Center, which is scheduled to open in 2012.

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