The lights are going out on another of bankrupt PSINet’s operations with the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League reclaiming the naming rights for its 69,000 seat stadium. According to a filing in a New York bankruptcy court, the Ravens and Ashburn, PSINet are terminating the 20-year, $105 million contract signed in 1999 for a $5.9 million payment to the Ashburn, Va.-based company.
The deal also terminates another $76 million in promotional sponsorships and luxury suite contracts between the Ravens and PSINet. The Ravens will assume the cost of removing the PSINet logo from its stadium in addition to promotional materials that include souvenir cups, napkins, programs and uniforms for cheerleaders, the marching band, concession workers and the mascot.
When the New York bankruptcy court approves the deal, the Ravens are free to pursue another naming rights deal although the team is likely to find itself in a down market for technology firms looking to promote themselves through a stadium deal. At the top of the technology boom, professional teams found willing sponsors such as PSINet, Qualcomm, 3Comm and, most notoriously, Enron.
Since then, the companies have taken a battering in the stock market and the court of public opinion. PSINet, the wholesale Internet service provider which once sold for more than $60 a share, filed for bankruptcy in May. Once employing 9,000 people worldwide, the company is down to 350 employees as it sells off one piece of the company after another.