The Name Game

Ian

Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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10 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    It’s not for lack of trying – the football league have refused one club’s request to include a sponsor’s name in the club’s official registered team name; this was about 5 or 6 years ago.

  2. Simon Cope says:

    “The only company names in English football club names are Cammell Laird and Vauxhall Motors”

    Plus Sunderland Nissan FC of the Northern League of course.

  3. skif says:

    In fairness to Airbus UK, aren’t they also a former work’s team? They certainly play on the Airbus factory site. Think they’ve always changed name in line with the company too, having formerly been de Havillands, Hawker Siddley, British Aerospace and Bae Systems over time.

    I did go there once, about four years ago – http://dubsteps.blogspot.com/2005/04/airbus-uk-0-bangor-city-0.html – and certainly the manner of the home fans conversations suggested there was a definite link.

    Certainly agree with the general point but cash generation in the Welsh Premier must be quite difficult at the best of times – at least WPL sides have the selling point that companies buying into a club name get advertised in the classified results on telly and radio across Britain each week.

    Like you say though lower league sides selling their stadium names seems counter productive to the company involved. On Havant & ‘Ville’s website, the corporate section highlights that we would sell naming rights if a suitable bid came in, but certainly if that were to happen, absolutely nobody, apart from the media (naturally, that would be mainly local), would refer to it as anything other than West Leigh Park.

    Also it’s the transience of it, Dover Athletic’s ground was the Hoverspeed Stadium then the SeaFrance to meet the needs of the sponsor. At least at present it incorporates the original name back in, being the Perry’s Crabble Stadium but even that sounds too grandious. The Crabble Ground suited it perfectly, and when Andy Hessenthaler brings them back up to Conference South next season, I am very much looking forward to going back there again.

    That’s assuming my mob don’t pass them en route via the horror of relegation of course.

  4. I see your Bargain Booze Stadium and raise you with Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (Home of the MLS team Colorado Rapids).
    All this sllyness with the naming I think comes from and started with the NFL.
    Google for the names of some of the stadiums that the Armored Wankball teams play in.

    It spread like a disease now and if you go and see a concert you might be watching Nine Inch Nails at the Dunkin Donut Center.
    More here

  5. Jertzee says:

    What about BAT Sports?

  6. Michael Wood says:

    What about West Ham United? Surely some kind of advertising for pork products.

    More seriously I would say it is utterly true that at the local level sponsors breed resentment as well as recognition and to be honest when dealing with football from a branding point of view the number of conflicting messages that come at the fan are insane. Multiple lagers are advertised in the same space, the same is true restaurants, of leisure activities in general. Trying to get your message to stand out in the football market place is almost impossible. Trying to actually align a product with an entity is even harder.

    Look at Liverpool with Carlsberg on the shirt playing in a league when it was sponsored by Carling. If I am trying to advertise my product I simply don’t want that level of conflict.

    Which is why I would suspect in years to come clubs will start trying to sell as close to full packages as possible. One brand on everything and as few competing messages as possible.

  7. Pete says:

    It’s not that long ago that Karren Brady was saying “yes, of course I’d rename Birmingham City after a sponsor if they gave us enough cash”. She and her ilk would clearly all jump at the chance of the ultimate sell-out if they thought they could get away with it. One likes to think there’d be an almighty barney if they ever tried it. But the image is still fresh of Manchester City fans arsing about in Arab headgear, so who knows?

    Hypothetically, I think it’s the one thing that would make me stop supporting my club, because it wouldn’t be my club any more, by definition.

  8. CTT says:

    My club (Huddersfield) have being doing this so long our ‘new’ stadium is on it’s second name.

    Check this article to see the man responsible for all this:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/football-league/footballs-man-of-the-future-the-stadiums-paul-fletcher-has-helped-to-build-503600.html

  9. Mystery_Bob says:

    The whole stadium naming thing is, of course, much more prevalent in the huge business, franchised world of American sport. For some incomprehensible reason, I love Baseball and have followed the fortunes of the San Francisco Giants for many years.

    Since their new stadium opened in 2000, it has had three different names due branding changes and mergers of the sponsor company (Pacific Bell, SBC, then AT&T). Fans always referred to the old stadium by the original name of Candlestick Park long after the naming rights were sold to a succession of different companies, but weirdly fans fondly still refer to the original corporate name of the new park.

  10. AlbanScot says:

    There are a couple of other lower league teams in England with sponsors names: Cadbury Athletic, Rolls Royce Leisure and Rowntree Macintosh

    So far 20 of the 92 Football League grounds have sponsors names with Cardiff and Grimsby’s new stadiums due to add to that total.

    It is difficult to keep track of the changes with so many teams but I have a list of 27 current non-league teams with sponsored grounds a couple of which are listed above. Apart from York City – Kitkat Crescent my other favourites are AFC Wimbledon – Cherry Red Records Fans’ Stadium and Witney United – Polythene UK Stadium

    In researching the naming rights I have found that many people stick to the old unsponsored names as a comfort and to prove the longevity of their support, some are confused as to what to call the ground when it does change and often with non league teams the internet is slow to keep track with changes – even Kidgrove Athletic haven’t updated their own website to their recent change!

    It could be worse, almost all US stadiums have naming rights and apart from the Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (Colorado Rapids, soccer) and the Gaylord Entertainment Center now the Sommet Center in Nashville there are others;
    Dunkin Donuts Center, Rhode Island
    Fifth Third Ballpark, Michigan
    Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Kentucky
    Pepsi Coliseum, Indianapolis
    Pizza Hut Park, Dallas
    Tim’s Toyota Center Stadium, Arizona
    Salt Lake City stadium was renamed Energy Solutions Arena after a company that deals in nuclear waste disposal, Delta Center. A formal protest was held. Bloggers have been calling it the “Radium Stadium”, with one TV station inviting alternate names that included “Tox Box”, “The Fallout Shelter”, “Radiation Station,” and “HazMat Center”.
    And not forgetting David Beckham’s own Home Depot Center, Los Angeles Galaxy

    And Young Boys Bern play at the Wankdorf Arena which led to a wonderful ESPN headline ‘Young Boys Wankdorf erection relief’

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