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49ers' Levi's Stadium the 3rd-biggest naming rights deal in American sports

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Levi's will pay the 49ers $220 million over 11 years for the naming rights to Levi's Stadium. Somehow, there are two organizations in American sports with even larger sponsorship deals.

Ian Walton

It's official: The San Francisco 49ers will be playing their homes games at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara beginning with the 2014 season. Levi's will pay the organization $220 million over 11 years for the naming rights, making it one of the most expensive stadium sponsorship deals in American sports.

Levi's $11 million per season is less than only the $16 million that MetLife Insurance is currently paying for the naming rights to MetLife Stadium, and the $20 million that Citigroup is paying to the New York Mets for the rights to Citi Field. The 49ers could have had the richest deal in the NFL if they had been able to lock up the $330 million deal they were reportedly seeking a few months back.

The 49ers jumped past Reliant Stadium ($10 million/season for the Houston Texans), Gillette Stadium ($8 million/season for the New England Patriots), and University of Phoenix Stadium ($7.72 million/season for the Arizona Cardinals) to take on the second-best sponsorship deal in the NFL on an annual revenue basis

The worst sponsorship deals belong to the NFL teams who still have yet to sell out their stadiums' naming rights. As the SB Nation blog Cincy Jungle points out, after the 49ers move out of Candlestick Park, just seven stadiums will remain in the league without sponsorship: Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City Chiefs), Cowboys Stadium (Dallas Cowboys), the Georgia Dome (Atlanta Falcons), Lambeau Field (Green Bay Packers), Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati Bengals), Ralph Wilson Stadium (Buffalo Bills), and Soldier Field (Chicago Bears).

Here are the 10 richest naming rights deals, courtesy of the Sports Business Journal:

Biggest American stadium naming rights deals
Stadium Team Sponsor Price Length of contract Money per season
Citi Field New York Mets Citigroup $400 million 20 years $20 million
MetLife Stadium New York Giants/Jets Met Life Insurance $400 million 25 years $16 million
Levi's Stadium San Francisco 49ers Levi's Jeans $220 million 20 years $11 million
Reliant Stadium Houston Texans Reliant Energy $310 million 31 years $10 million
Barclays Center Brooklyn Nets Barclays PLC $200 million 20 years $10 million
Philips Arena Atlanta Hawks Royal Philips Electronics $185 million 20 years $9.25 million
Gillette Stadium New England Patriots Gillette $240 million 15 years $8 million
University of Phoenix Stadium Arizona Cardinals Apollo Group $154.5 million 20 years $7.72 million
FedEx Field Washington Redskins FedEx $205 million 27 years $7.59 million
Bank of America Stadium Carolina Panthers Bank of America $140 million 20 years $7 million

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