Are sponsored stadiums worth it?
Juventus are to become the first Italian club to have their stadium sponsored.
The concept is so alien to Italians that Juve had to hold a presentation in Milan this week to explain what it was all about, and to look for sponsors. I went along hoping to speak to the directors about potential transfers but most of my Italian colleagues asked question after question about this strange new marketing trend.
Having attended the first game at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton 11 years ago, I’ve become rather used to the idea and don’t think it differs much to sponsored shirts.
Certainly in the case of Bolton Wanderers, the revenue from the sponsorship deal has gone a long way to helping them stay in the Premier League. Several of Germany’s excellent stadiums built ahead of the 2006 World Cup are sponsored, like Munich’s Allianz Arena, and fans there are generally happy.
But should we be worried about where all this is heading? Does every time we mention the name sound like an advert?
The Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen sounds better than Arena AufSchalke, but do we really want existing stadiums changing their names? Hamburg’s stadium changed sponsors after just six years.
Many basketball and cycling teams in Europe even have sponsors in their name. I don’t think fans will want major soccer clubs to go that far, but it has already been tried with TNS in Wales and others will definitely follow.
Mark Meadows, Reuters Sports Correspondent in Milan