Newcastle United’s home stadium St. James’ Park has been renamed as SportsDirect Arena. Yes, it is (Sports Direct) is the same retailer brand which Mike Ashley owns. So financially this move isn’t worth much for the club but it was never suppose to be. The name changing move is to lure potential buyers for the naming rights of the stadium and finding a new shirt sponsor as well.
But while doing so, Mike Ashley has broken a 119 year old tradition with this. And fans of the club will be furious with this decision. While it seems that the fans of Newcastle United have gotten over the selling of Andy Carroll, a local hero and sacking of their inspirational coach Chris Hughton, who got them back in to the top flight of English football. The change of name from St James’ Park to SportsDirect arena is going to take some to heal.
But the question is, whether Mike Ashely is completely wrong in doing this supposedly heinous crime. Well the answer is no, because these are hard times for a Football club, economically that is. Newcastle United has done brilliantly this season and sit on the third spot. And the owner, looks like, wants to capitalize from this situation to make the club more strong. if they do, indeed find a new stadium naming rights partner, then it would certainly mean that present manager will have more funds to buy quality players this January or the next summer.
Newcastle United’s managing director Derek Llambias had following to say in the matter:
To grow sustainably and allow us to invest in our future, we will need to rely increasingly heavily on commercial income. These are very difficult economic times and the board have a responsibility to maximise all revenue streams for the benefit of the club.”
“Stadium rebranding offers a lucrative way for clubs to secure significant additional income. When we initially launched our plans at the end of 2009, we invited sponsors to attach their brand to that of St James’ Park.”
“However, it has become clear that in order to make the proposition as commercially attractive as possible, a potential sponsor must be given the opportunity to fully rebrand the stadium.”
“Naming the stadium the Sports Direct Arena helps up to showcase the opportunity to interested parties,”
Llambias added “We are now actively seeking a long-term sponsor wishing to acquire full naming rights for the stadium.”
“Our shirt sponsorship deal with Northern Rock will also expire at the end of this season, which presents would-be sponsors with the opportunity to acquire both the naming rights and shirt sponsorship deals.”