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49ers announce $220 million naming rights deal with Levi’s

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Levi's wants the naming rights to the 49ers new stadium (USA Today Sports Images)

The San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to begin play in their new $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara in 2014. When they do, the name of another iconic San Francisco company will be branded throughout the interior and exterior of the new stadium.

The 49ers and Levi Strauss & Co. announced that they will present a 20-year naming rights proposal to the Santa Clara Stadium Authority on Thursday, May 9. The deal is worth $220 million, a price tag that will also make the 160-year-old clothing company a corporate sponsor of the 49ers.

"49ers have worn Levi's jeans since the Gold Rush era," 49ers CEO Jed York said in a statement released by the team. "We are so honored to have the perfect partner for the premier outdoor sports and entertainment venue in the world. A model of innovation and sustainability, Levi's Stadium will bring to life all that is special about the Bay Area."

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At a press conference to announce the deal, York added that the team is working on getting head coach/khakis aficianado Jim Harbaugh some jeans.

"We're working on coach to get him into a pair of jeans," York said, via Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee. "I don't know whether he's been in anything other than khakis."

At $11 million per season for the naming rights to the 68,500-seat stadium, the deal comes in as the second-largest among current NFL naming rights agreements.

According to a SportsBusiness Journal article from Sept. 19, 2011, the $17-$20 million per year average that the New York Giants and New York Jets receive from Metropolitan Life Insurance for their shared stadium (MetLife Stadium) in New Jersey is currently the largest deal for an actual stadium. Farmer's Insurance could pay over $23 million annually, and perhaps up to $1 billion over 30 years, for the naming rights to a proposed NFL stadium in Los Angeles.

Most NFL naming rights deals are under $6 million per year, so the 49ers should be happy with the deal they have reached with Levi's. The enticement for Levi's is that the stadium is a finalist to host Super Bowl L in 2016.

"It is very fitting to see two of the Bay Area’s best-known brands coming together to showcase the best our region has to offer," San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said. "Every time a fan turns on their television to watch a 49ers home game from Levi’s Stadium, the entire region will be on center stage. And, in a few short weeks, we are hopeful that we will host Super Bowl 50 or 51 and experience the enormous economic boost and lasting legacy for the entire Bay Area."

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