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Celtic and Rangers to consider selling stadium naming rights

The Old Firm could take a leaf out what has happened in German football according to former Celtic star Brian O'Neil.

Stadium naming rights is back in the spotlight after Newcastle United chief Mike Ashley this week renamed St James’ Park the Sports Direct Arena.

O’Neil draws on his time at Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga in the late 1990s when the phenomenon changed the fortunes of German football. Companies willing to put millions into clubs for obtaining naming right to ground and Hamburg led the way.

AOL, Nordbank and Imtech paid approximately £70million in the last decade to have their brands take the title for the Volkspa­rksta­dion. The large sponsorship deals have let German clubs keep admission prices low and send Bundesliga attendance figures soaring.

Bayern Munich charge just £10 admission but can spend £20m for Franck Ribery thanks to their connection with Allianz, who have their name on the Arena.

Financial times are hard in Scottish football and attracting naming right partners from top-level sponsors goes someway to help balance the books.

O';Neil added:

“The stadium I played in is called Celtic Park, yet most of the supporters call it Parkhead. It’s got two names already and the fans would still call it Parkhead even if it became, for example, the Nike Arena.

“When it comes to the media side, the stadium would be referred to by the new name but what does that matter if fans still call it Parkhead?

“What does matter in football these days is the commercial world and keeping up with the best.

“I don’t think it would take anything away from Celtic because it’s still a fantastic stadium and if it gives the club extra financial clout to compete at a higher level, why not?

LM

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