Cardiff stadium in sponsor hunt

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is searching for a headline sponsor for the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff as part of a drive to generate revenue.

Head of marketing Gwyn Thomas says the WRU is already in talks with two companies and that there is also interest from existing stadium sponsors, which include Coca-Cola, Coors, Nestlé and Reebok. The WRU appointed Thomas as its first head of marketing in March (MW March 27).

Thomas says: “There are a number of packages on the market, the biggest of which is naming rights for the stadium. We are also looking at 241 other activities that could be held here, including cricket, windsurfing, rallying, boxing and music.”

The WRU is saddled with debts of £67m after building the stadium four years ago. Thomas will not disclose the potential value of the headline sponsorship package but says it carried a “hefty” price that only a few multinational companies could afford. He adds that the WRU hopes for a two- or three-year deal.

Thomas says that the Millennium Commission, which part-funded the stadium using National Lottery money, has been consulted on the renaming of the stadium. He adds: “Ideally, we would want a sponsor that complements Millennium, but we are flexible about the name.”

The new Wembley National Stadium is also searching for sponsors, but Thomas says the WRU is not worried that this might affect its deal: “We will lose the FA Cup but we have much more for sponsors. We are the only covered stadium with removable grass in the UK.”

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