AEG Drives A Mercedes

A $280 million arena in Shanghai developed by AEG has found a sponsor.

Mercedes-Benz has announced it will lend its name to the basketball and entertainment complex under construction along the Huangpu River.

AEG is building the 18,000-seat arena with the help of the National Basketball Association and Oriental Pearl Group, a division of Shanghai Media Group.

It is about the same size as Staples Center and Madison Square Garden and is expected to debut as a performing arts center for the World Expo, which will run for six months starting in May.

In 2011 it will turn into the Mercedes-Benz Arena and remain that way for at least 10 years. It’s the first venue outside of Germany to carry the Mercedes-Benz name.

AEG did not disclose what Mercedes-Benz paid for the naming rights, but the Los Angeles Times speculates that it is “significantly more” than the $120 million Staples initially paid to put its name on the downtown Los Angeles arena 10 years ago.