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Big game could mean big cash for Giants-Jets stadium naming rights

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Landing the 2014 Super Bowlshould help the New York Giants and New York Jets finally put a name on their new $1.6 billion stadium.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, the owners of the two NFL teams said the selection of the stadium for the NFL championship game in roughly 3½ years is bound to attract sponsors interested in seeing their company's name on the 82,500-seat facility.

Whether the Super Bowl association boosts the price of the naming rights is uncertain.

Some experts believe the naming rights for the stadium located less than five miles from New York might fetch $20 million annually for the teams to split.

"It can't hurt," Giants co-owner John Mara said at the press conference at the stadium on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after NFL owners awarded the New York-New Jersey area the Super Bowl. "This is a positive factor. It makes it an even more attractive package, the potential naming rights part, but that will come."

Until the naming rights are sold, the stadium will continue to be called the New Stadium at the Meadowlands. It was scheduled to officially open Wednesday night with a Bon Jovi concert.

The Giants and Jets had naming rights negotiations with a German insurance company in September 2008, but talks ended when it was disclosed that Allianz once had ties to the Nazis. The deal could have been worth an estimated $30 million annually.

Jets owner Woody Johnson said the stadium will be in the spotlight for a long time.

"Look at it this way, between now and 3½ years, a lot of eyeballs will be on that spot," Johnson said. "So if you are in a business like carpets or anything else you are selling that has to be helpful rather than hurtful, you're going to gain two billion eyes."

Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said the teams haven't established a naming rights price or a price they would like to have. However, having the affiliation with the Super Bowl is a big plus.

"It becomes an attractive additional component to a naming rights partner," Tisch said. "They will get a lot of exposure for a long time prior to that Sunday in February."

Steven Korenblat, a partner in the St. Louis law firm of Bryan Cave, said landing the Super Bowl might accelerate any current sponsorship talks, including naming rights. Korenblat noted that because of the weak economy some sponsors might seek shorter deals now, and longer ones when the economy improves.

"I wouldn't say (the teams) are in the driver's seat," said Korenblat, who helped negotiate Citigroup's deal to put its name on the New York Mets' new stadium last year. "This looks still like a buyer's market very much so now. But on the other hand, if they have multiple suitors considering these rights, someone may be motivated to grab the deal first."

Mara said the Jets and Giants are thinking about bidding on future Super Bowls, if the league will let them. The NFL allowed a special exception for the teams to bid on the 2014 game.

The Jets and Giants owners also disclosed that they have to raise $40 million to run the events surrounding the Super Bowl.

"John Tisch and Woody have some heavy lifting to do in terms of raising the type of money needed to make this pay off," Mara said. "Someone asked before what the economic benefit is? You do not make any money hosting the Super Bowl. You are lucky if you break even."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. David Paterson downplayed the possibility of snow and the cold spoiling what is the first Super Bowl to be awarded to a northern open-air stadium in the middle of winter.

Paterson said that bad weather has made some football games special, like the Ice Bowl in 1967 or the Colts-Giants title game in 1958.

"We will now have a game with many unanticipated moments," Paterson said. "It's the unanticipated moments we remember."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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