By Marcus Leach
Newcastle United Football Club have announced plans to license the full naming rights to the club's stadium following consultation with international branding experts.
The board are committed to generating additional commercial revenue from advertising and sponsorship opportunities. The original naming rights proposal, launched in November 2009, invited sponsors to link their brand to St. James' Park, but this did not prove commercially attractive.
As such, the club will now seek a sponsor who will be granted full naming rights. Until such time the stadium will be renamed the Sports Direct Arena.
"Our aim for Newcastle United is to continue to deliver success for the fans and everyone associated with the Club. We must make this Club financially self-sufficient in order to deliver that success," Managing Director, Derek Llambias, said.
"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. 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."
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