Chelsea are preparing to follow Newcastle's lead by selling the naming rights for Stamford Bridge, new chief executive Ron Gourlay revealed on Thursday. Although insisting that Chelsea need the millions such a lucrative sponsorship deal would secure, Gourlay promised that the words 'Stamford' and 'Bridge' will remain.
"We understand that this is a sensitive issue for our fans and that is why we would keep the name Stamford Bridge in any deal".
Although some may disagree, Gouray feels that the financial advantage of selling the rights is essential.
"What we are not prepared to happen, and I am sure our fans will appreciate this, is allow our rival clubs in England and Europe to gain a competitive advantage over us in terms of the revenue they can generate through either expanding the capacity of their existing stadia or moving to a new stadium and then invest that upside in their team or the club.
''Those possibilities are not open to Chelsea for the foreseeable future because of the restrictions in expanding our stadium and the issues around finding a new site, so that means we have to be creative and look at our sponsorship architecture and see if we can create new value and new opportunities that keeps us competitive".
In 2004, Emirates paid Arsenal £100 million to acquire naming rights on their new Ashburton Grove stadium for 15 years, and Allianz is charged £4 million every twelve months for Bayern Munich's ground to bear its name. In the USA, Citigroup pay £10 million so for the new New York Mets baseball arena, now called Citi Field.