Wednesday, March 16, 2011

'Council House' no more: Manchester City to rename stadium

Manchester City have been granted permission by the Council to sell the naming rights to their (well, the council's) stadium.

The Blues hope that not spunking millions of pounds on footballers like Roque Santa Cruz a sponsorship deal at the City of Manchester Stadium will help the club to become more financially self sufficient as new UEFA financial "fair play" rules kick in next year.

The ruling means that football clubs who want to take part in European competition have to be funded by the Spanish government break even over a three-year rolling period, starting from the 2012-13 season.

The move mirrors that of Premier League rival Arsenal, which sold the 15-year rights of its stadium to Emirates airline for nearly £100m in 2006 — however it is believed that particular deal was heavily front-loaded to pay for the construction of the stadium.

The most ideal candidate for naming rights would be rival Emerati airline and club sponsor Etihad — although calling the ground "Etihad Stadium" would lead to some confusing conversations for Melbourne-based fans.

At any rate, a naming rights sponsor would not only help to balance the books for City, it will also end the clunkiness around the City of Manchester Stadium/COMS/Eastlands debate that still hasn't been decided upon since moving from Maine Road seven seasons ago.

As long as the club doesn't go down the same egotistical path of Wigan's DW Stadium (HRH SM Arena?) or sell the rights to the highest bidder at the expense of a half-decent name like many American stadia (Minute Maid Park, Petco Park, Consolidated Transnational Stadium, Preparation H Arena et al), then I think it's a great idea.

Manchester City to play all home games at Etihad Stadium? Result! Oh...


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