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Stadium naming rights to be sold?

I had the chance to meet up with various members of the proposed Supporters Trust group on Saturday prior to the Sheffield United game, and amongst the various topics of discussion was the news that the naming rights to the City of Manchester Stadium are believed to have been sold to a former sponsor of the club for a fee of £3 million per season.

There wasn't too much detail on the proposed terms of any deal in respect of what percentage of the money will actually be received by the club but as Purelymancity points out, although far less than the sum Arsenal receive on average per season from Emirates it would still be one of the highest sponsorship amounts received for stadium naming rights outside of the big NFL sides.

In football, the issue of stadium naming rights is still a contentious one with many fans against the 'traditional' grounds being re-named after corporations - and it is telling that it is only the recently built stadiums that carry this, the older grounds which carry the weight of history and tradition behind them have been left untouched.

Would re-naming the City of Manchester Stadium cause a furore amongst supporters? I'm not necessarily sure that it would do in quite the same way that it would have done at Maine Road as it is still to get a real identity of it's own as it is still referred to by many names - City of Manchester Stadium/Eastlands/The new ground and so on, so in that respect it may be a little more palatable although the issue I'm sure would not sit all that easily with fans as another sign of football 'selling out'.

At this stage, nothing has been confirmed regarding the deal and it may just be little more than rumour - but even so, I'm sure it is something the board has considered exploring at some stage.