The announcement follows the opening of Citibank's first two branches in the Boston area, where the company expects to open 30 more shortly. Maura Markus, president of Citibank North America (a division of the New York-based conglomerate) told the paper that Citigroup saw the Wang Center deal as a way to immediately make its presence felt in metropolitan Boston.
The arts center, which operates the 3,600-seat Wang Theatre, the 1,600-seat Shubert Theatre and an arts program for students, could be renamed as soon as next week, according to the Globe.
The money will be paid over a 15-year period to the center, which has recently suffered budget deficits and declining audiences — a situation worsened by the re-opening of Boston's 2,600-seat Opera House, which now hosts many of the the large and lucrative touring Broadway shows which used to appear at the Wang Center.
The name of Wang — in honor of An Wang, the computer company magnate who died in 1990 — was attached to the center in 1983 following his family's $4 million donation. Lorraine Wang, his widow, has approved the sale of naming rights and will remain the organization's honorary chairman, according to the paper. (The Wang Theatre will keep its name as well.)
Earning money from the sale of naming rights to corporations is more common for sports arenas than performing arts venues, although nonprofit arts institutions have begun to follow the practice in recent years, as with Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the Four Seasons Centre in Toronto and the Carnival Center in Miami.