Magpies owner opts to break with tradition.
Newcastle United have renamed St James’ Park the Sports Direct Arena after owner Mike Ashley’s company.
The club say the change is a temporary measure to “showcase” the sponsorship opportunity to “interested parties”.
However the St James’ Park title has been dropped as the club does not think it is “commercially attractive”.
Newcastle are now searching for a “long-term sponsor to acquire full naming rights”, possibly for both the ground and playing kit.
Managing director Derek Llambias said: “Stadium rebranding offers a lucrative way for clubs to secure significant additional income.”
The club originally planned to allow sponsors to link their brand to the St James’ Park title but that idea, put forward in 2009, is now replaced by the offer to purchase full naming rights.
At the time of the 2009 proposals, Newcastle were struggling after being relegated from the top flight. But the team are now flying high – currently third in the Premier League.
Reacting to news of a possible name change two years ago, Newcastle fans told BBC Sport that the idea was a “nightmare” and “abysmal”.
Although it has become common for clubs to hand naming rights to sponsors when they move to new grounds, it is unusual for a traditional stadium to have its name changed.
SOURCE: BBC Sport
Clearly the idea of branding a stadium does rub some people up the wrong way, it is however an easy way to generate income and whilst clearly Mike Ashley and cohorts are for the most part fairly loathsome individuals on this occasion I see no issue with the re-naming of St James’ Park.
Clearly if the idea is to simply use the ground as a free way of publicizing his own interests, by promoting his Sports Direct brand, then that is an issue. It’s been stated that the ground is only temporary so it will be interesting to see just how long this ‘temporary’ spell lasts.
How do Newcastle United fans feel about this?