The [Atlanta] Falcons organization has sold corporate sponsorships at Mercedes-Benz Stadium totaling more than $900 million in contractually obligated long-term revenue, SportsBusiness Journal reports in this week’s edition.
That’s $900 million over several decades, so not really worth $900 million toward today’s construction costs. Still, it should go a long way toward helping pay off the Falcons‘ $1.6 billion stadium, especially when the team is already getting tax money worth nearly $700 million.
Also today in sports teams sell ad rights for lots and lots of money:
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx named five new “founding partners” on Monday who will help pay for the $130 million renovation of Target Center now underway…
In exchange for its sponsorship, each founding partner will receive a customized package with the two teams. Each package will offer a yet-to-be disclosed “physical presence” inside the arena, plus outdoor and indoor digital signage and category exclusivity.
That Minneapolis Star Tribune article doesn’t mention it, but the Target Center renovation also got $48 million in public funds.
These are only two data points, obviously, but they do help explain why team owners are so eager to build new facilities despite tons of evidence that they don’t bring in all that much more money in actual arena revenues. New sports venues aren’t just new sports venues — they’re also new billboards, and corporations are more willing to throw money at slapping their names on a fresh canvas than on one that’s been written on already a bunch of times, even if it’s dubious whether there’s any real business value.
Plus, of course, it’s way easier to ask for public money for new (or renovated) buildings than it is to just ask for straight taxpayer handouts because you want to boost your profits. When future alien anthropologists try to puzzle out why we spent so much of our time building and then tearing down places to watch mass sporting spectacles, it’ll be fun to see how many tries it takes before they arrive at “it was the best way to separate people from their wallets.”