Venue News & Notes: Citi-less Field?

Having received a government bailout, banking giant Citigroup may now be looking at a backout, which would leave the New York Mets without a named sponsor for their new stadium. Citigroup, which has had total net losses of $28.5 billion since 2007, received $45 billion in aid from the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program last fall, after signing a $400 million marketing deal with the Mets that included stadium naming rights. Next week, Citigroup Chief Executive Vikram Pandit and other bank CEOs are scheduled to appear before a House committee, where they are likely to be pressed for answers about their use of taxpayer-funded capital through TARP. The Mets deal was attacked last week as an example of misplaced spending by financial institutions that needed bailout funds.

Citigroup Inc., eager to quell the controversy over how lenders are using government bailout money, is exploring the possibility of backing out of a nearly $400 million marketing deal with the New York Mets. Officials at Citigroup have made no final decision about whether to try to void the 20-year agreement, which includes naming the Mets’ new baseball stadium after the bank.

…U.S. Soccer officially announced its interest in hosting the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022, attempting to bring the world’s most-watched sports event back to the U.S. for the first time since 1994. Univision Sports President David Downs resigned his position and will be the executive director of the bid committee, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced during a teleconference with reporters…

…At a time when fewer construction projects are getting off the ground, St. Louis-area developers are scoring with a healthy demand for sports venues. Holland Construction of Swansea, IL, has found this niche and built a number of athletic fields and recreational buildings, including three YMCAs throughout the Metro-East and two minor-league baseball stadiums. The company will build an $83 million expansion and renovation of athletic fields and buildings at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in a joint venture with J.E. Dunn Construction of Kansas City, MO…

…Opening day for the newly renamed Winston-Salem, NC, minor-league baseball team, The Dash, is set for April, but money and ownership issues are keeping the project from moving along at full speed. Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines said details involving a change in team ownership structure from two owners to one are taking a while to be worked out, delaying the project that has been under way for 15 months…

…With final voting on the Florida Marlins’ long-sought ballpark less than two weeks away, club President David Samson expects near-capacity crowds nightly the first year in the team’s new home, with annual attendance above 2 million for at least seven seasons. Such an increase for the attendance-challenged Marlins would allow the team to climb into the middle of the major-league pack in player payroll, Samson said Monday.

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