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Sunderland AFC consider selling naming rights to the Stadium of Light

Wed 17th Mar 2010 | Football Sponsorship

Chief executive Steve Walton has admitted that Sunderland could be interested in selling the naming rights to the Stadium of Light.

With pre-tax losses of £26million last year, Walton conceded that renaming the Black Cats' home ground would be a viable option, and had been discussed with the club's board.

However, Walton is keen to avoid an angry backlash from fans, which happened when local rivals Newcastle announced similar plans for a naming rights deal at St James' Park last year.

"The naming rights issue is an extremely emotive thing," he told the Sunderland Echo.

"And it would only be done if it was completely right for the business.

"There have been a couple of things in that kind of area we have been looking at.

"We'd only do it if it worked and it didn't take anything away."

Shirt sponsor Boylesports has already declined an option to become the Stadium of Light's naming rights sponsor and the board has been forced to look elsewhere.

"I've spoken to the chief executive of Boylesports recently, and they would prefer it if we found somebody else," said chairman Niall Quinn.

"They're also feeling the pinch, like the rest of Ireland."

But Walton thinks that Sunderland fans will understand the financial benefits of a potential deal and will not be concerned by a change to their relatively new stadium, which only opened in 1997.

He added: "It doesn't necessarily carry the same emotion because it's a relatively new stadium."

 

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