Well, neither the Saints nor CHS are saying how much money exchanged hands to put the company's name on the taxpayer-funded stadium in Lowertown.
"It's a very beneficial agreement for both companies, but we're not going to disclose what the financial arrangements are," said CHS president and CEO Carl Casale when pressed on the matter this morning.
Mike Veeck, from the Saints, demurred as well.
But money is supposed to change hands, we know that. The naming rights proceeds, in fact, are a key factor in financing the new stadium, particularly after soil remediation problems hiked the price of the deal by nearly $9 million.
Here's the language from the agreement:
Saints Rights. The Saints will have the exclusive right to exercise, market and sell all Naming Rights and, except as provided in this paragraph (b), to receive all revenues therefrom. The Parties agree to cooperate in the solicitation and securing of the Naming Rights, and to negotiate in good faith to establish a base Naming Rights receipts number; above which revenue received by the Saints for Naming Rights shall be applied to the repayment of the City Loan and shall not be included in Annual Gross Ballpark Revenues or the Revenue Sharing Report for Revenue Sharing purposes. Once the City Loan is paid in full, all Naming Rights revenue shall revert to the Saints and such amounts shall be included in Annual Gross Ballpark Revenues and the Revenue Sharing Report for Revenue Sharing purposes. The Saints will not seek or offer Naming Rights, except in accordance with this Agreement and the Advertising and Naming Rights Standards attached hereto as Exhibit G. Any naming of the Ballpark or plazas within the Appurtenant Area must be approved by the City Council; for elimination of doubt, the requirement that City Council approval be obtained does not apply to the naming of interior portions of the Ballpark. In approving or disapproving a name, the City Council may consider, among other things, the propriety of the name or the product it represents for a public facility or whether there is a geographical conflict.
It's hard to pick all of that out.
But in layman's terms, the city says that the Saints get the first $500,000 of the total naming rights proceeds. The rest will be reported as part of the revenue that the team has agreed to share with the city. That revenue sharing will help pay off the $6 million "internal loan" that St. Paul pledged to close that $9 million financing gap.
With the help of state, county and Metropolitan Council grants and a lease with Hamline University, that $6 million loan is already down to about $1.2 million.
So presumably at least the first $1.7 million of the naming rights (if there is that much) could be at least partly disclosed to the city council to let them know that they can cover their mortgage on the ballpark.
And the rest? We may never know.
UPDATE: The Saints released what might be construed as a clarification this afternoon. Of sorts. If you read between the lines, the Saints are merely saying that if as many people show up at the new park as the old park, there should be revenue sharing with the city. So the deal presumably is worth more than $500,000.
The Saints and CHS have agreed to keep the financial terms confidential. The City of St. Paul will have an opportunity over the next 13-years to share in revenue associated with the naming rights, if attendance at CHS Field meets performance standards consistent with historical attendance at Midway Stadium. The city will also have an opportunity to share in overall Saints revenue as well as proceeds if there is a future sale of the ballclub, which does not exist with any other professional team in Minnesota.