02/27/09 12:51 AM EST
Yankees, Bank of America halt talks
Long-term sponsorship deal appears unlikely after months of negotiations
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost said the club now aims to negotiate a more limited deal with a bank that would include ATM rights, and that Bank of America could re-enter the picture in that scenario."It just doesn't seem like this is the time to do something special with a financial institution," Trost told AP. "There are so many teams being criticized. In the face of that, to do a deal, we would face additional criticism." The sides were likely aware of congressional criticism of Citigroup's $400 million, 20-year agreement for naming rights to the Mets' new ballpark, Citi Field, which will also debut in April. "With the downturn in the economy and the effect on financial institutions including government support of those institutions, we have determined that it is better to enter into a traditional business arrangement with a financial institution," Yankees spokeswoman Alice McGillion said. "We recognize that our decision not to pursue a long-term partnership with the Yankees reflects a lost revenue opportunity for our company, however these are unprecedented times that perhaps call for some very difficult decisions," said Bank of America spokesman Joe Goode. "We still see tremendous value in the Yankees both in terms of a business partnership and a marketing platform," said Goode, "so it's our plan to explore alternative ways to maintain our business relationship." When negotiations began, Bank of America was interested in naming rights for a specific area of the park. However, the new Yankee Stadium won't lack for brand connections. It is already set to include Audi Yankees Club, Budweiser Hall of Fame Lounge, Delta Sky 360 Suite, H&R Block Suite Level, Jim Beam Suite Lounge, Ketel One Lounge and Mohegan Sun Sports Bar.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.