ABC reports that “AIG, Citibank and a number of other federally bailed-out financial institutions have no plans to cancel hundreds of millions of dollars in sports team sponsorships, even as they take billions in taxpayer support”:
Struggling Citibank just sealed a multi-billion-dollar emergency “backstop” deal with the U.S. government. The financial behemoth, suffering with billions in bad mortgage-related assets on its books, recently shed 53,000 workers and saw its stock price lose over half its value. Yet it’s in a 20-year contract to pay the New York Mets $400 million to name the team’s new stadium “Citi Field.” […]
Imploding insurance giant AIG is paying the British soccer team Manchester United $125 million for the privilege of having its logo appear on Man U’s uniforms. That, despite the fact the firm is standing largely thanks to a $150 billion lifeline from the U.S. Treasury.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said that this “type of spending is indefensible and unacceptable to Citigroup’s new partner and largest investor: the American taxpayer.” Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense joked that Manchester United should put “U.S. Treasury” on the front of their uniforms instead.
During this morning’s press briefing, White House spokesman Tony Fratto admitted he had not heard before about Citi’s sports marketing plans. Nonetheless, he said, “I mean, firms do that as a marketing item, and certainly marketing is important for any business.”
,Newsday notes that last week, Citi announced plans to “let go of 52,000 workers by early next year.”
,The Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo has more on why the Citi bailout is a lousy deal.