The new season for the 72 Football League teams kicked off this weekend, including that of promoted club Brighton & Hove Albion who secured a 2-1 win over Doncaster in a fitting opening for their American Express Community Stadium.
Otherwise known as The AMEX, Brighton’s new stadium is another example of football clubs adding additional revenue streams as commercialism continues to grow in the sport. Whilst the sponsoring of stadiums caused some unrest at the beginning of the 21st century, it now seems to cause fewer concerns amongst supporters, primarily because of the benefit of this additional revenue.
This doesn’t mean every football club needs to sell the naming rights to their stadium, but it should raise the question in the boardrooms of these clubs – should we? Perhaps a surprising statistic uncovered in researching this topic is the revelation that 11 out of 24 League Two clubs have sold the naming rights to their stadiums. It appears that as the gulf between the Premier League and the Football League grows ever wider, these clubs are focussed on ensuring financial survival through less traditional methods.
As a Derby County fan, I am fond of the name Pride Park; nevertheless I would not lose too much sleep should Tom Glick and the board decide it is time to follow this growing trend. My only requirements would be the need for a respectable business or brand as the stadium sponsor and guaranteed revenue for the club.
Let’s also not forget the reason why businesses choose to sponsor these stadiums – widespread awareness through reference in newspapers, on Sky Sports News, Final Score and 5 Live to name just a few. As such, it will be fascinating to note just how many clubs choose to sell these naming rights over the course of this new season and beyond.