Thursday, 5 November 2009

Renaming St. James' Park? another Mike Ashley mess


By GREVILLE WATERMAN. This is well worth reading as Greville's been in the sports sponsorship game for a quarter of a century. Read on as he explains why Mike Ashley is no Dave Whelan!
As pundit Richard Littlejohn often says when faced with yet another example of the idiocy of everyday life - "you couldn't make it up".
Yes, our Keystone Cop friends at Newcastle United have even surpassed themselves with their idiotic announcement that they are seeking a Naming Rights Partner for St. James' Park.
Not content with trampling all over hundred years of heritage and tradition, they've decided for illustrative purposes only to attach the name of owner Mike Ashley's company and for the remainder of the season the stadium will instantaneously be known as Sportsdirect.com@stjamespark.

So where do we start in exposing this example of crass lunacy?

The concept of naming rights can be an extremely effective marketing tool but only if the name is attached to a new stadium.

For all the inherent sense of tradition of most Arsenal fans, The Emirates Stadium IS The Emirates just as St. James' Park IS and always WILL be St. James' Park.

Not content with ignoring marketing precedent and the laws of commonsense, the decision to attach a temporary name to the stadium totally beggars belief.

I cannot imagine that fans and the media alike will use the new convoluted name, and potential sponsors will take this into account when considering the viability of the proposition.

Also why on earth give the stadium another corporate name, however temporary, when you're looking for a new long-term naming rights partner - total madness.

This whole project seems to be an ill thought through and badly conceived bodge that has little or no chance of success.

Newcastle fans and even a local MP are up in arms at this local outrage, although I suspect they needn't worry - I can't see it coming to fruition.

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