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PR- 400-06
November 13, 2006


New Home of the Mets to Open in 2009

Name Ebbets-Inspired Rotunda at Citi Field in Honor of Jackie Robinson

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Governor George E. Pataki, and the New York Mets today hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony for the new ballpark, Citi Field, for the New York Mets.  Construction has begun on the innovative state-of-the-art facility in the outfield parking lot between Shea Stadium and 126th Street.  The Mets expect to complete construction by Opening Day 2009, which will usher in a new era of unprecedented sightlines, amenities, and comfort for Mets fans, sports fans, and visitors to the New York metropolitan area. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff, Empire State Development Chairman Charles A. Gargano, New York Mets Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Fred Wilpon, Citigroup Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charles Prince, Mets Senior Executive Vice President and COO Jeff Wilpon, and Rachel Robinson, Founder, Jackie Robinson Foundation, also attended the groundbreaking.

"This is a glorious moment for our friends in Queens, in the City of New York, for the New York Mets and at Citigroup," Mayor Bloomberg said.  "We all share in the enthusiasm as two New York institutions have partnered together to build a beautiful new home for the Mets, and a better New York.  This partnership extends to our communities with the creation of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in incremental fiscal revenue for the City and State.  We eagerly await the cry of 'Play Ball' as we watch our Mets charge the diamond at Citi Field."

"This great project will result in a brand new, beautiful stadium for one of the regions most legendary sports organizations and their fans, The Amazin' New York Mets," Governor Pataki said.  "The Mets are an inseparable and dynamic part of the fabric of New York. This great ball club and its fans deserve a ballpark that is worthy of their current and future standing among the game's elite - a new stadium that represents this team's tremendous promise, the incredible dedication of its fans and the high standards of its owners. New York State is proud to partner with the City of New York, the Wilpons and Saul Katz and as the Mets on this enormous contribution and commitment to the revitalization and future prosperity of New York. I also want to congratulate Citigroup for their historic partnership that will create even more resources for the community. The construction of this new ballpark will generate thousands of jobs for the area's dedicated workforce, provide for investment and tax revenue, and infuse a renewed sense of excitement in the surrounding communities." 

"We thank Citigroup - a New York and global institution that shares our values of 'doing well while doing good' - for its significant commitment to helping with our dream to build this wonderful new ballpark, Citi Field, and make it a reality for the City, State, and the best fans in sports," Chairman Wilpon said.  "The Mets and Citi together will bring new entertainment experiences and baseball enjoyment to Mets fans everywhere.  Equally important, our collaboration will accelerate our respective and extensive outreach efforts to do even more in the communities we serve."

"Citigroup is proud to enter into this landmark business and marketing partnership with the New York Mets," Chairman Prince said.  "Citi Field, the beautiful new home of the Mets, will provide a premier experience for fans and become a destination showcase for our city.  This agreement provides an unprecedented platform to promote our world-class brand, enhance our relationships with current clients and attract new clients in our headquarters city and a strategically important market.  This will allow us to expand our considerable community efforts right here in the business and sports capital of the world.  We could not think of a better partner than the New York Mets to help us grow our many businesses."

"Today's announcement and the ceremonial groundbreaking for Citi Field represent the latest milestone in the significant progress and development of the Mets' new home," Senior Executive Vice President Wilpon said.  "More than three quarters of the facility's foundation piles already are in place and in the very near future - thanks to our new partnership with Citigroup - Citi Field will begin to rise just beyond our current outfield fence."

Citigroup and the New York Mets also announced an exclusive 20-year, multi-faceted strategic marketing and business partnership that includes the naming rights for Citi Field a world-class home of the Mets, scheduled to open by Opening Day 2009.  The fully integrated partnership also includes, for Citi, brand and business unit presence throughout the new ballpark; rights to the Mets and Citi Field marks; the purchase of media on SportsNet New York (SNY); the launch of community outreach initiatives; and the development of international business opportunities in sports and entertainment.  The new relationship represents a milestone as the first partnership of its depth and integrated nature in the history of major league professional sports. 

The Mets, in conjunction with their construction partners Hunt-Bovis and HOK, began construction of the 45,000-capacity Citi Field this summer in the outfield parking lot between Shea Stadium and 126th Street.  More than 2,200 of the 2,800 piles already have been driven.

The Mets are privately financing the construction and operation of the new 45,000-capacity, open-air venue and will construct, operate, manage, and maintain Citi Field at their own expense.  The Mets estimate the amount of their total private investment to be in excess of $600 million.  Construction of Citi Field is expected to create more than 6,000 temporary full-time equivalent jobs, while ongoing operations in it are expected to result in approximately 1,000 permanent full-time equivalent jobs.

"There is great synergy between the Mets and Citigroup fueling their commitment to the community and fans," Deputy Mayor Doctoroff said.  "This landmark agreement will stimulate economic development in both Flushing and Willets Point, creating much-needed jobs, and private investment."

"This is a momentous and exciting day for the New York Mets, their fans, the city and state," Chairman Gargano said.  "The new stadium will create jobs and opportunities and help our economy grow even stronger as a legendary New York team gets a new home."

The City and State have been working with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on both short term and long term options to make additional transit service available for Mets fans and to encourage more fans to take mass transit to games.  The MTA is also working on additional marketing and promotional efforts with the Mets that will encourage the use of public transportation.

As the first step of the strategic partnership, the Mets and Citi will commission a statue and name the entry rotunda of Citi Field - inspired by the classic design of Ebbets Field - to honor Jackie Robinson, the legendary pioneer and great American who broke baseball's color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.  The partnership will include a significant commitment to recognize and perpetuate, in and around the rotunda and the community, Robinson's legacy and the "nine values" he embodied as articulated by his daughter, Sharon Robinson:  courage, integrity, determination, persistence, citizenship, justice, commitment, teamwork, and excellence.

"The Robinson family and Jackie Robinson Foundation are extremely proud of the creation of the Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Citi Field," said Rachel Robinson. "The statue of Jack and the experience of passing through the rotunda will serve as a source of inspiration for future generations and as a powerful reminder of Jack's commitment to excellence and social progress."

In addition, Citi and the Mets through a pledge to the Jackie Robinson Foundation will help create the Jackie Robinson Foundation Museum and Education Center in lower Manhattan.  As much as a tribute to Jackie Robinson, the Museum and Education Center will serve as a venue for educating children about Jackie Robinson's pioneering spirit and serve as a source of inspiration for future generations.  This partnership will support new programs for the Jackie Robinson Foundation including leadership development and scholarships for students who exemplify Jackie's humanitarian ideals.

A 3-D virtual video tour as well as renderings and a comprehensive overview of the new Mets Ballpark are available at


Stu Loeser / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Joanna Rose (Governor)   (212) 681-4640

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