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Canberra Stadium latest to sell its name

Published: Monday 28th October 2013  |  More News

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Canberra Stadium is the latest Australian venue to sell its soul to a commercial naming rights sponsor with GIO purchasing the rights. It joins a host of other venues with naming rights seemingly the norm these days.

It’s the commercial reality of the world we now live in and while it may cause some confusion with the general public out there, venues need to maximise revenue as best they can. Selling your name is the ultimate and the fact is, all but a handful are prepared to go down that road.

Canberra’s primary outdoor stadium had been searching since June 2011 for its first ever naming rights sponsor. It was originally hoped the rights would attract a price tag of between $500,000 and $1million per year, but it’s understood that amount has reduced significantly.

The money will help fund maintenance and upgrade costs. The aging Canberra Stadium is set to be replaced by a new stadium at some point in the future and the deal ensures the new venue will carry the GIO name also.

Of the 332 Australian and New Zealand stadiums listed on Austadiums, 57 of them currently have a naming rights sponsor – 51 of those in Australia.

In the NRL, just one Australian stadium doesn’t have a naming rights sponsor – Newcastle’s Hunter Stadium, however it previously did. Parramatta Stadium was the most recent venue to sell, with Pirtek buying the first ever naming rights to that venue. It’s a similar story in the A-League, with Newcastle the only venue with a traditional name after Adelaide’s Hindmarsh Stadium became Coopers Stadium during the offseason.

The Coopers agreement means there are now two Coopers Stadiums in Adelaide – the rectangular stadium at Hindmarsh, and the SANFL ground at Norwood. AAMI has the rights to two venues (AAMI Park in Melbourne and AAMI Stadium in Adelaide), while WIN has the rights to three (WIN Stadium and WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong, as well as WIN Jubilee Oval at Kogarah).

For the sake of sports fans around the country, hopefully the ever-increasing regularity of changing stadium names won’t create too much ongoing confusion. Sydney’s Olympic Stadium, currently ANZ Stadium and formerly Telstra Stadium, shouldn’t be confused with Brisbane’s (previously known as) ANZ Stadium – the former home of the Broncos, and now known as the Queensland Sport and Athletic Centre (also formerly QEII Stadium).

Austadiums now has a list of all venues which currently have a naming rights sponsor to try and help the general public keep up with what’s what. In regards to what we officially call each venue, that will vary with many smaller venues and less significant naming rights deals retaining the original name on this site, but making mention of the commercial name. If we’re missing a few or have some incorrect, please get in touch with us.

VIEW THE LIST OF STADIUM NAMING RIGHTS HERE >>

Luckily, some prestigious venues will never sell their souls. The famous Melbourne Cricket Ground and Sydney Cricket Ground head the list. The Adelaide Oval and the Gabba in Brisbane probably belong there also as may a few others.

On the other end of the scale, we believe Cronulla’s home ground was the first venue in Australia to have a naming rights sponsor. The home of Rugby League on Sydney’s Sutherland Shire was originally Endeavour Field and became Ronson Park in 1985. Since then, it has been known as Caltex Park, Toyota Park/Stadium as well as Shark Park. It’s now known as Remondis Stadium in the most recent agreement signed in July 2013. We don’t believe a stadium in this country has had more names than the Cronulla venue.

A number of newer venues have never had a traditional name such as Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium which opened as Colonial Stadium and was also Telstra Dome for a period of time. It’s sometimes referred to as Docklands Stadium. Hisense Arena at Melbourne Park opened as Vodafone Arena but its name during planning and construction was simply the Multi Purpose Venue. Across the road, AAMI Park was referred to as the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium before it opened.

Stadium names will continue to change but hopefully the tradition of venues can be retained. Naming rights should only be sold at a premium price tag and more importantly, for long term contracts to help to avoid confusion out there. If the increase in revenue does result in improved spectator facilities for fans, then there’s at least one positive gained.

by CAMERON VOSS Twitter @camvoss

 

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