Caesars Entertainment, New Orleans Saints Sign Superdome Naming Rights Deal

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Caesars Entertainment and the NFL’s New Orleans Saints have inked a 20-year agreement that will give the Nevada-based gambling company the naming rights to the home of the Saints, the Superdome.

Aside from the naming rights, the two parties also plan to make joint investments that will use Caesars Entertainment’s leverage in the sporting and entertainment world in order to bring more world class events to the Superdome while also enhancing Championship Square as a venue.

The deal is the first explicit naming rights contract between an NFL team and a major casino operator as the league has steadily eased restrictions on gambling-related deals.

Investing Hundreds of Millions in NOLA

The terms of the deal were not made public although last week, the state budget committee pegged the overall value at $138M. The payment will go directly to the Saints as part of their 2009 contract with the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District or the Superdome Commission, which has oversight functions over the property.

The Superdome deal is the largest sponsorship deal ever entered into by Caesars Entertainment. With the planned $320M expansion of Harrah’s at the riverside end of Canal Street, which is set to break ground this month, Caesars Entertainment in investing hundreds of millions of dollars in New Orleans.

Mercedes to Focus in Atlanta

Caesars Entertainment thus replaces Mercedes Benz which was the first naming rights sponsor to the 51-year old Superdome. Mercedes Benz’s 10-year deal expired this month and the German automotive maker decided not to renew in NOLA in order to focus its investments in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mercedes Benz recently moved its North America headquarters to Atlanta and they also have the naming rights to the stadium of Atlanta’s NFL team in the Atlanta Falcons. The Mercedes deal reportedly gave the Saints around $5.5M to $6M annually. Meanwhile, the new deal with Caesars is worth $6.9M per annum for the franchise.

Superdome Renovation

The Caesars Entertainment deal will spare taxpayers money from being used in the maintenance and renovation of the Superdome over the duration of the contract. However, the state will still contribute $90M to the current $450M renovation that is currently underway.

The ongoing renovation is set to add a dozen new luxury field-level suites. Under the new sponsorship deal, Caesars will own one of those suites while it will upgrade the two 400-level suites it currently owns to a more premium mid-field location.