One of the world’s most iconic stadiums looks set to be renamed soon in a 500 million euros sponsorship deal with International Petroleum Investment Company. The Santiago Bernabeu might be getting a new name shortly, since the United Arab Emirates group secured the deal last year with Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, for major sponsorship of the club. This sponsorship includes the naming rights of the stadium, home of Real Madrid since 1947.
As mentioned in a previous article, the stadium is named after one of the most influential players in the club’s illustrious history. One of the stipulations of the deal was that the name, Santiago Bernabeu, rename in the main name of the stadium. The prevents a full name change, like what happened with Newcastle’s St. James Park (renamed to Sports Direct Stadium) a few years ago.
The new name for the Santiago Bernabeu is expected to be either The Abu Dhabi Santiago Bernabeu or The Cespa Santiago Bernabeu. The final say on the stadium’s name rests with Florentino Perez. A good chunk of the sponsorship will go to stadium renovations and improvements. Perez stated his ambition saying:
“I am killing myself to create the best stadium in the world. If you want to do it without debt, the only possibility is that we take a sponsor’s name which could give us the 400m or 500m euros the new stadium is worth.”
Although this type of deal is rare in Spain, only Espanyol has done something similar, it will allow Real Madrid to increase the stadium capacity to 90,000, which is staggering in world soccer. This can really only be seen as a good thing for the club, as the stadium will always be the Santiago Bernabeu to fans regardless of what sponsor shoves its name in front.