Barclays, a British bank, has reportedly agreed to pay $400 million dollars over 20 years for the naming rights to the New York Nets' new arena. The previous record for a naming rights deal was the $185 million over 20 years paid by Royal Phillips Electronics in 1999 to put their name on Phillips Arena in Atlanta where the Hawks and Thrashers play. The new arena is part of the $4 billion Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn, and the Nets impending move will return major league sports to Brooklyn for the first time since the Dodgers left.
The Barclays deal exceeds the Phillips deal by a wide margin. In today's New York Times, columnist Richard Sandomir wonders if Barclays overpaid. To which I respond: "Duh!" According to Forbes, the estimated value of the Nets is $244 million. Instead of spending $400 million on the naming rights, why not pull a Red Bull - buy the franchise and rename it?