There was a lot of upset among Newcastle fans when Mike Ashley renamed St. James’ Park as the Sports Direct Arena in November.
St. James’ Park
But the name of a ground that has been home of Newcastle United ever since in was formed 120 years ago in 1892 is hard to change for most fans.
We took the decision to continue calling it St. James’ Park and never even mention Sports Direct Arena (whoops), but the Newcastle City Council have come out with a motion that requests the media to keep calling it St. James’ Park.
So we’ll see what Sky Sports call it this afternoon, when they broadcast the game worldwide, and they will probably talk about this news and the actions taken by the Newcastle City Council.
Mike Ashley was told in no uncertain terms that he would receive no support from the Newcastle City Council for his decision to rename St James’ Park.
The name was changed in November but the Council have refused to back that decision by changing street signs in the city from St James’ Park to Sports Direct Arena.
This is what the motion states:
“The motion requests that the city council write to the media and asks that they continue to use the name of St James’ Park in all reporting and refuse to use the name Sports Direct Arena.”
“For its part, the city council has taken the decision not to change any wayfinding signs which bear the name St James’ Park, and calls on the club to reconsider.”
“We would respectfully ask that you acknowledge the strength of opposition among Newcastle fans against changing the name of the stadium and continue to call it St James’ Park in all reporting.”
If this motion gets wide support it will put a damper on any company wanting to buy the naming rights of St. James’ Park.
That’s because the companies only do it so their brand is talked about when the media reports on Newcastle United and the games are televised – that’s the whole purpose of a company paying out big money for the naming rights.
Newcastle United have officially refused to comment on the action taken by the Council.
The naming rights were expected to bring up to £10M/year into the club’s coffers, but Richard Benson passed up on that opportunity when Virgin Money came in as the new sponsors for the Newcastle shirts a couple of weeks ago.
As we said, this action will make it more difficult for a company to buy the naming rights of St. James’ Park, if the motion receives wide support.
What do you think?