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Stadium to be called Gillette 2 more decades

The Patriots field has been called Gillette Stadium since 2002. Above, Tom Brady. The Patriots field has been called Gillette Stadium since 2002. Above, Tom Brady. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
By Johnny Diaz
Globe Staff / September 23, 2010

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It wasn’t even close: For at least two more decades, Gillette, the Boston shaving giant, will get to keep its name on the stadium that is home to the New England Patriots.

Yesterday, officials at Gillette, a unit of the consumer goods conglomerate Procter & Gamble Co., said they have extended that agreement for exclusive naming rights through 2031 with the Kraft Group, which owns the 68,756-seat stadium, the Patriots, and the New England Revolution.

The Patriots field in Foxborough has been called Gillette Stadium since 2002 under an agreement that was to expire in 2017.

“The naming of Gillette has been a great investment for our business,’’ Chip Bergh, group president of global male grooming for Gillette, said in a statement.

Jonathan Kraft, Kraft Group’s president, said he wanted to lock in Gillette as a long-term partner because of the strength of their relationship.

“Gillette has been the leader in their field,’’ he said. “They are a global brand leader that stands for global excellence. We try to reach those levels each year.’’

A Kraft spokesman, Stacey James, said the deal was not put out to bid and would not disclose financial terms of the deal, which includes some sponsorship agreements.

But price tags for naming rights can run from $6 million to $20 million a year, according to SportsBusiness Journal, a national industry magazine.

The amount reflects the size of the market, the popularity of the team, the type of sport, the location of the ballpark or stadium, and whether it is a new facility or an established one.

In February, the Philadelphia Union soccer team sold its waterfront stadium’s naming rights to a Pennsylvania energy company in a 10-year, $20 million deal, according to the team’s website and media reports.

And in 2006, Citigroup Inc. agreed to pay the New York Mets $400 million over 20 years to call the team’s new home Citi Field, according to news media reports.

But a bad economy can hurt lucrative sponsorships for new stadiums.

The Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium, which opened in June, is called Cowboys Stadium because it has no corporate naming sponsor. New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey, which houses the New York Giants and the New York Jets, hasn’t found a sponsor to pay for naming rights, either.

Calls to both stadiums seeking comment were not returned.

“When the economy is as flat as ours has been, there is less buying power and hence there is less reason to advertise,’’ said Andrew Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College in Northampton and a consultant for sports businesses.

“It’s harder, given the economic recession, but it’s still possible,’’ he said. “Everything depends on the price.’’

Stephen A. Greyser, a Harvard Business School professor who specializes in sports brand marketing, said extending the Gillette agreement makes sense, given that the groups share a “co-branding point of view’’ because of their Boston ties and a strong mutual following among mostly male audiences.

He also noted that Kraft Group has strong positive name recognition in New England, which benefits Gillette with potential customers.

Said Greyser: “You can imagine there is a fit between what Gillette is and does, and what the Patriots are and what the Patriots do.’’

Johnny Diaz can be reached at jodiaz@globe.com.

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