Albany Aims To Cash In On Its Lack Of Civic Pride
By Fred Furnace
Published February 14th, 2016
A Wal-Mart Supercenter in Albany, N.Y. (Photo illegally swiped from some guy
posing as Matt Wade)
ALBANY — Albany is closing in on a deal with Simon Property Group, the nation’s leading developer of shopping malls, to temporarily change Albany's name to "Mallbany" for the month of September.
The mayor’s office said the deal could net the city approximately $1.5 million in naming fees, with "untold hundreds more" trickling down to the local economy with the buzz generated from all the excitement.
"Selling our name is unorthodox, yes, but this is easy money for the city of Albany," said Mayor Kathy Sheehan. "And if everything goes smoothly—and what could possibly go wrong—we will offer to sell our naming rights to other companies, as well."
Analysts believe the deal would be a first, as no other city has ever before sold its naming rights to a corporate sponsor.
"I suspect most cities have too much integrity and civic pride to even consider this type of proposal," said Myron Silverman, a partner at Goldman Sachs who helped broker the naming-rights deal for SEFCU Arena nearly a decade ago. "But it actually makes sense for a place like Albany, where integrity and civic pride aren’t really an issue. I mean, what the fuck does Albany have to lose?"
Mayor Sheehan believes the “Mallbany” deal could be just the tip of the iceberg.
"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves or reveal confidential information,” she said, “but let's just say I have it on good authority that corporate sponsors will be interested in names like, ‘Fuscillo AutoMallbany,’ ‘Mrs. Pallbany,’ ‘Don’s Big & Tallbany,’ 'Better Call Saulbany,’ ‘Pall Mallbany,’ and ‘Arsenio Hallbany.’”
Sheehan acknowledged that even "Smallbany" will be on the table, if the right offer comes in.
"I know that's what some people call us, and that it is not meant as a compliment," she said. "But screw it — if the price is right, we are open for business."