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CMGI buys naming rights to stadium

The Internet venture capital firm is the latest technology company to buy the rights to slap its name on a professional sports stadium.

Internet investment company CMGI has become the latest technology company to buy the rights to splash its name over a professional sports stadium.

Starting in 2002, fans of the New England Patriots will be watching their team battle on the gridiron at CMGI Field.

CMGI, which owns and invests in an array of Internet companies such as AltaVista, will receive promotional and sponsorship rights around the stadium. The company will also provide Internet services, such as streaming media broadcasting and Web hosting, for the team.

The 15-year deal requires CMGI to pay $7.6 million a year to the Patriots for the first 10 years. Payments for the remaining five years will be adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index, the companies said.

David Wetherell The new stadium, under construction in Foxboro, Mass., is slated to open in 2002.

CMGI joins a growing list of technology companies that have struck promotion and naming rights deals with professional sports teams. In the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, the San Francisco 49ers play in 3Com Park, the San Francisco Giants play in Pac Bell Park, and the Oakland Athletics play in the Network Associates Coliseum. And then there's Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, where the Chargers and the Padres play.

"This agreement marks a significant milestone in CMGI's history," CMGI chief executive David Wetherell said in a statement. "Partnering with the New England Patriots enables us to strengthen our local presence while simultaneously reaching a broader national and international audience."