BrandArena: Camp Nou could be set for name change

Friday 6 February 2015

Camp Nou could be set for name change

Barcelona's famous Camp Nou stadium may receive a new name as part of a sponsorship agreement with Qatar Airways.

Barcelona is currently engaged in a five-year deal, from 2011-12 to 2015-16, with Qatar Sports Investment worth a total of €160m ($181.4m). Qatar Airways is currently the club’s shirt sponsor under the agreement.

Spanish sports newspaper Diario AS reports Barcelona is seeking to increase QSI’s commitment by €20m per season and Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar al-Bakar suggested naming rights at the club’s iconic Camp Nou ground could be a means of adding value to the sponsorship.

“Everything is a possibility for our company, we’re open to surprises and one of these could be connected to the name of Camp Nou,” Al-Bakar said, while speaking at a promotional event. “Qatar Airways and Barcelona have the same values. It is possible that our name is added to Camp Nou.”

News of Barca's potential stadium name switch comes shortly after it was suggested Real Madrid could go through the same process. A deal reportedly worth €500 million may see the Santiago Bernabeu receive an Abu Dhabi prefix, the potential result of an agreement formed with the United Arab Emirates-based International Petroleum Investment Company, per Andy West of BBC Sport.

Sponsored arena names are commonplace in football. Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and Manchester City's Etihad Stadium are two other examples of airlines flexing their financial muscles, but neither Premier League side had a great history with their home before the names were formed. The Sky Blues had only been in the old City of Manchester stadium for eight years before the switch was made, while Arsenal's Emirates deal was added on completion of the new stadium.

Both Barca and Madrid risk the wrath of their fans with the name change—these are iconic locations steeped in history—but the financial state of the game means such a decision is likely to be beneficial. These deals allow greater funds to be spent on the team, and in turn, generate more interest in the club. 

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