SAN FRANCISCO (08/23/2000) - CMGI Inc. has agreed to buy the naming rights to Foxboro Stadium, home of the NFL's New England Patriots and Major League Soccer's New England Revolution. Under the terms of a 15-year agreement, the stadium will be called CMGI Field, and the deal will cost the Andover, Mass.-based venture firm US$100 million.
The deal is the latest in a series of stadium renamings by major corporations that have brought revenue to sports franchises while leaving many fans unhappy.
Pacific Bell, 3Com Corp., Enron Corp. and other companies have bought the naming rights to professional sports fields to enhance their consumer brands in increasingly crowded and competitive marketplaces.
The CMGI Field deal is the first of its kind among venture capital firms.
CMGI's agreement with the New England Patriots includes product and service endorsements of its numerous holdings, including Navisite, a Web hosting company, and Activate, a Webcasting company. The Patriots already use Navisite's services for its Web site and will use Activate streaming media tools for Webcasts.
In return for the naming and sponsorship rights, CMGI will pay $7.6 million a year for the first 10 years, with consumer price index adjustments for years 11 through 15. CMGI will acquire the naming rights immediately but will not make its first semiannual payment to the New England Patriots until January 2002.