Artist's impression of Everton's new stadium & shops in Kirkby _320
EVERTON Football Club is looking to raise more than £60m from the naming rights for its new stadium.
The club announced last year they would be moving from Goodison Park to a new 55,000-capacity stadium in Kirkby.
But the £400m scheme has faced fierce opposition from some fans, planning groups and other parties, including Grosvenor, the owners of Liverpool One.
Robert Elstone, deputy chief executive of Everton FC, said: “We have had some quite extensive research done which is suggesting a value of well in excess of £4m per annum over a 15-year deal.
“Our decision to move to a new stadium was exceptionally tough. Our fans, players, and staff have to be considered when making all key changes to the club – and we will ensure a partnership with a brand that they would approve of.
“It will be a blue chip brand and one that is here to stay.
“It will bring new money into the club.”
The stadium is scheduled to host its first league match in August 2010 and Mr Elstone is aiming to make swift progress with a sponsor agreement .
“We already have meetings in the diary for this month,” he said. “Our target is to be well-advanced by the end of this year.
“The economic situation is not helping us but we think it is a strong property and it is a rare opportunity.”
Everton would consider tying in their shirt sponsorship with the naming rights, as Arsenal did with a combined £90m deal with the airline, Emirates.
“We are open-minded and it depends on the buyer,” said Mr Elstone. “It worked well with Arsenal, but it’s debatable whether they got the maximum value by bundling the two together.”
Stadium naming rights have become an increasingly important revenue stream for sports clubs, with deals for new stadia most valuable. Emirates paid £50m for 15 years at Arsenal’s new stadium – £3.3m a year – while Ricoh and Keepmoat are paying about £1m a year to have their names attached to the new stadia in Coventry and Doncaster respectively.
Ed Meikle, of Watson Burton’s Sports Business Group, said: “It is often said that naming rights deals also give sponsors something unique that other deals cannot.
“Repeated use of the new ground name by the media is the ultimate goal. Significantly cheaper than traditional advertising, the rights are highly sought after.
“Sensitivity towards the fans and recognising the importance of ensuring acceptance by the media should always be integral to the overall process if the deal is to be a success.”
Last week Everton sent 100 personal DVD players to chief executives, marketing and sponsorship directors which included a three-minute presentation on the naming rights opportunity, which it described as “a passport to the world of football”.