There is a new stadium being built in New York in which the Jets and Giants will play professional football over the next few years. That new stadium creates boundless marketing and money making opportunities, one of which is stadium naming rights.
Some lucky company will pay millions of dollars to have their name featured in America's largest market for millions and millions to see. And it could be Allianz Insurance. But there's one problem -- they appear to have significant ties to Nazi Germany.
Allianz, the front-runner to secure the new stadium's naming rights, is an insurance and financial services company founded in Berlin in 1890 that moved to Munich in 1949 and had ties to Nazi Germany. Its CEO at the time, Kurt Schmitt, was Adolf Hitler's economics minister. It was the insurer of the Auschwitz death camp's facilities and personnel.
[...]"I am very upset," Holocaust survivor Earnest Michel said yesterday. "I would find the connection of naming the stadium in the name of a German insurance company a very, very serious act and that we as survivors would take exception to."
It is also extremely important to note that Allianz has, over the years, apparently made significant restitution efforts to the families of those lost in the Holocaust. Therefore, there is a pretty heated debate circulating in the Northeast about the stadium naming rights.
I am not Jewish, so I cannot possibly expect to fully understand the personal and religious feelings at stake here. And frankly, if I were in charge, I would probably pass on Allianz bid, simply because it does not seem like a necessary pot to stir.
But if the Giants and Jets are dead set on taking the company's bid (reportedly around $30 million or so), the most logical and ethical solution to me comes in the form of donating a very considerable amount of the revenue generated to continued restitution and assisting the New York Jewish community.