Friday, 15 May 2009

Carlsberg want to put their name on new Anfield

LFC shirt sponsors Carlsberg want to put their name on Liverpool proposed new stadium, but the brewing company need to assess the financial stability of the club before committing themselves reports today’s Guardian. Carlsberg have been tied to the club since 1991 and the current contract, worth £7 million a year expires at the end of the 2009-10 season. The article goes on to say:

Carlsberg's head of sponsorship, Gareth Roberts, indicated his company would be monitoring the club's ability to refinance a loan of around £250m and, more crucially, progress on a new stadium.

The new 60,000-seat venue on the adjacent Stanley Park was due to have been ready by 2011, but the global economic downturn forced the co-owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr, to halt building work last year. Carlsberg, though, are still keen on the new stadium bearing their name.
"That will be part of the discussion I'm sure, but there's been no decisions yet," Roberts said.

Roberts found the off-field tensions between Hicks and Gillett distracting, but last month's show of unity, with the Americans sitting together during the 4-4 draw with Arsenal, was an encouraging sign as negotiations between the parties intensify.

"We need to understand where they are going with the stadium, what is the next step?" Roberts told the Associated Press. "[The ownership situation] is a distraction. The best thing is they seem to have resolved the internal issues and they are going to take the next step. If it's done in the right way and they take the next step then absolutely.

"The ownership issue is also about the stadium and the financial setup. The stadium is a big step of their progression in the future and we want to be part of that."

Naming rights have been on the owners' agenda since they bought the club in 2007, with Gillett saying the windfall could subsidise buying a high-profile player every year.

This is obviously a delicate subject that is sure to keep die hard fans debating. But one thing is clear, naming rights could unlock some serious money for the club. Arsenal's 13-year stadium deal with airline Emirates is valued at £100m, which includes an eight-year shirt deal.

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