Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Poll: Public Still Wants Mets-Citi Deal To Be Terminated

Mark Lennihan

We’ve done a lot of reporting on the Citigroup-New York Mets $400 million stadium naming rights deal over the past couple weeks, including making a case for keeping the deal intact.

In our unscientific poll on Feb. 4, 61 percent of “SportsBiz” readers said they didn’t think the agreement was a good use of marketing dollars. Well, we just got our hands on a scientific poll —the Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted by The Sharkey Institute.

The pollsters randomly called 1,053 people across the nation and asked them if they thought Citigroup should make an effort to get out of the deal, even if the company has to pay a substantial penalty. Almost two out of every three people (64 percent to be exact) said that Citigroup should do what it can to get out of the deal.

"Just what is involved in Citigroup getting out of the Mets deal is unknown right now, but the public is not satisfied with Citigroup continuing to conduct business as usual while taking in public funds,” said Rick Gentile, the director of the poll.

The key in this question is the word “substantial.”

I contend that if they did get out of the deal the penalty would be at least $150 million. What would the answer be if you substituted the word “substantial” with $150 million. By talking real numbers, you’d get the public to understand that it’s better if a company that is being supported by taxpayer money gets some marketing value out of a $400 million deal instead of getting nothing for $150 million.

Questions?  Comments?