Newcastle to sell naming rights to St James’ Park

Premier League club Newcastle United is to sell naming rights to its 119-year-old St James’ Park stadium.


The ground has been renamed Sports Direct Arena in the interim, after owner Mike Ashley’s retail business, to showcase the sponsorship to brands.

The club, currently third in the Premier League, says the decision to rename the stadium will allow it “to maximise all revenue streams”.

Newcastle will offer brands sponsorship of its shirts and the ground to bolster income. Its current shirt deal with Northern Rock expires at the end of the current season.

Premier League sides are under pressure to increase revenue and operate within the boundaries of UEFA’s “financial fair play rules”, which will require clubs to establish sustainable business models or face playing bans and stringent fines.

They are also looking to exploit considerable global interest in the Premier League by offering brands worldwide exposure.

The club, which could earn up to £15m a season from any deal, reported an operating loss of £35.5m before player trading for season 2009/10.

In a statement managing director Derek Llambias says: “To grow sustainably and allow us to invest in our future, we will need to rely increasingly heavily on commercial income.”

Newcastle fans have reacted angrily to the plans. One post on fan site said: “I can’t see anyone wanting to sponsor it because in everyone’s eyes it will always be St James’ Park. If Ashley does manage to get a sponsor then for the amount it would bring in, is it really worth pissing off most of the fanbase?”  

Newcastle first mooted selling naming rights in 2009. The idea then, however, was to have a brand’s name appear alongside St. James’ Park in any new moniker for the ground. To sell the idea, the temporary James’ Park Stadium name was introduced.

The North East side would follow several Premier League club grounds that carry a brand’s name. Arsenal plays at the Emirates, Manchester City at Etihad Stadium and Stoke at the Britannia.

Chelsea is also thought to be considering selling naming rights to its Stamford Bridge ground.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here