Real Madrid to play at The Microsoft Stadium?

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Real Madrid are looking at the possibility of having their stadium sponsored in the near future. Josh McLoughlin looks at other stadium naming rights deals.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has said that the club are looking to get a sponsor for the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. Microsoft have today emerged as the frontrunners for the naming rights.

Real Madrid’s stadium was opened on the 14th December 1947. Named after Santiago Bernabeu Yeste, a former chairman of the club, the stadium has a capacity of over 85,000. It has hosted over 1000 football matches including four European Cup finals.

President Florentino Perez has often said that he would like to develop the stadium. In his previous stint as president he made initial plans to allow the stadium to have a retractable roof. However he resigned in 2005, and the plans were never looked at again.

However Perez has looked at restructuring the stadium which will lead to the capacity increasing to 90,000. The redevelopment could cost in the region of £335million. Therefore the club are looking at handing over the naming rights of the stadium in order to help fund the redevelopment.

President of Microsoft’s Spanish operations Maria Garana told Spanish tv “They’ve raised, as have other companies, renaming the stadium and we’re only talking about this possibility.” It remains to be seen what the stadium would be called, but it would certainly take time for football fans to get used to.

Arsenal perhaps have one of the most famous sponsorship deals regarding a stadium. Emirates sponsor Arsenal‘s ground for a reported £15 million a season, in an overall sponsorship deal worth £150 million over five seasons. Emirates are now synonymous with Arsenal covering all aspects of the team.

Newcastle United famously offered up the naming rights of their stadium and Mike Ashley showed prospective sponsors how it might sound and look by putting his own company’s name on the front of the stadium. He renamed the club’s ground ‘Sports Direct @ St James’ Park’.

This obviously didn’t go down well with the fans. When fans have grown up with that name all their lives, for it suddenly to be changed to a brand does do any favours with relationships between the club and fans. In fact the current sponsorship deal in place with Wonga involves them paying a reported £1.5 million per year just for the stadium to retain the St James’ Park name.

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