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— Even without the "name assignment" provision or the Super Bowl freebies, observers say, Qualcomm got a good deal. "Adidas, for example, just struck a deal for $9 million a year with the Yankees, and they don't even get to put their name on the stadium," Henderson says. "This raises the question of was the price really adequate, or was it just coincidence that the price was ostensibly what the city needed [to cover the final $18 million part of the expansion package]."

In New York the Adidas deal made headlines. According to a March 4 New York Times story, the sporting goods company has promised to spend $90 to $95 million through 2006 "to plaster its name on signs at Yankee Stadium, advertise on Yankee telecasts, promote its connection to the team in local marketing, contribute to team charities, and supply minor leagues with footwear."

Outright naming deals more along the lines of the San DiegoPQualcomm pact are also pricier in other cities throughout the country. In Washington, D.C., mci pays the Bullets $4.4 million a year for arena naming rights. Continental Airlines pays the New Jersey Nets $2.4 million a year, the Fleet Financial Group pays the Boston Celtics $2 million a year.

In St. Louis, reporter Carey says, twa pays the convention and visitors commission $1.3 million a year, subject to an automatic annual increase of 3.5 percent. The deal is good for 20 years and can be extended an additional 10 years at twa's request.

In Indianapolis, editor Klein says, rca is paying $10 million for a 10-year contract. But a movement is afoot in the state legislature to restore the previous Hoosier Dome name, because a year after the 1994 deal was struck, rca announced it was relocating its Thomson Consumer Electronics plant from Indianapolis to Mexico. "It's always been fairly controversial, because the dome was built with taxpayer money and the Hoosier name is something that's kind of sacred to some people," Klein says.

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