It seems as though the race to sponsor the ground, the shirt, and anything else with an available advertising space on it is hotting up.
Three names have been continuously linked with a deal,those being Nike, Virgin Money and mobile communications company O2.
However it is Nike that appear to be the hot favourites according to the People today, who claim that the American sportswear giant is closing in on a five year deal worth the £10 million a year that the club are seeking to achieve. A word of warning though. It’s being reported by Alan Oliver so I’d be tempted to use more than a pinch of salt when considering this particular rumour.
Virgin Money have been linked with us ever since they took over for Northern Rock last week and they’ve admitted that they’d like to talk to us “at the right time” regarding some form of sponsorship deal.
However it would appear that Virgin Money wouldn’t be interested in putting their name in place of St James’ Park.
“To be honest, I think it should be called St James’ Park,” said Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia.
Asked whether it might be renamed the Virgin Money Arena, she said: “I don’t think that would be right for Newcastle.”
“St James’ Park is part of the heritage of Newcastle and it’s important to local people, so for me it should be called St James’ Park.”
The other potential suitor is O2 although there have been no more reports of communication between the Spanish mobile phone firm who have a habit of acquiring naming rights for different venues.
As ever I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I wouldn’t mind Nike or Virgin Money or O2 in truth. Obviously I’d much prefer it if the ground stayed as St James’ Park, but if the name is to be sold off then I’d prefer to know that a company is paying for the privilege rather than getting a freebie.
Petty I know, but still.