The Long Island Ducks' home won't be called Citibank Park anymore. And the stadium's new name is a long way from being decided.
Suffolk officials originally planned to put out a request for proposals for a new naming rights deal last summer, but a spokesman for county executive Steve Levy said they held off to just a few weeks ago in hopes that the economy would improve.
The deadline for bids has not arrived yet, but Citigroup already has informed Suffolk of its decision not to place a bid to renew its 10-year, $2.3-million stadium naming rights deal that expires this spring, a spokesman for the bank confirmed.
Suffolk officials hope to have a new naming rights deal in place by Opening Day, but realize the timeframe makes that difficult. The county is using real estate consultants Newmark Frank to attract potential bidders, Levy spokesman Mark Smith said.
"Our goal is by the time the season starts, usually mid-to-late April, to have this resolved," Smith said. If the process takes longer than expected or if no company expresses enough interest to the county's liking, Smith said the county is prepared to use a generic name while it continually looks for sponsorship.
The county's original naming-rights deal with Citigroup originally was signed with European American Bank, making it EAB Park. But Citigroup absorbed the deal when it purchased the bank in the summer of 2001, the second year of the 10-year deal.
Citigroup came under heavy criticism last year from Congress for keeping its name atop the Mets' new stadium while receiving TARP funding. Citigroup announced last month it reached a deal with the government to pay back the TARP money.