London Stadium name change could prove tricky
The news that the LLDC is close to sealing a deal for the naming rights to the London Stadium has me worried. I’m also starting to doubt how successful it will be. Whilst broadcasters may well be duty-bound to utter the new name, I can’t imagine West Ham fans being quite so obedient.
I was fortunate enough to get tickets to watch the Olympic Games in 2012. Back then, the main stadium for the games was a 90,000 capacity venue. However, it was known as ‘The Olympic Stadium’. I remember my cynicism and reticence when it was announced that the name would be changed to The London Stadium.
Personally I was quite insistent that I would never call it by its new name… how could I? I had seen Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis, and Greg Rutherford win gold in the Olympic Stadium, so how could I ever call it anything different? That being said, I am somewhat stubborn. I still object to calling a Marathon a Snickers, and don’t even get me started on ‘Opal Fruits’ (Starburst for you youngsters).
My point is that even stubborn old me eventually started calling West Ham’s rented home ‘The London Stadium’, albeit through gritted teeth. So the news that Allianz is emerging as the leading contender to secure the naming rights for West Ham’s ground is interesting.
My initial reaction was my default setting of “I’m not calling it that,” however, I most likely will eventually. Whether the name change has any benefit to West Ham is unknown. The Hammers would only profit from a stadium-only deal if it exceeded £4m per season.
Stadium name change rarely works
It’s a policy which failed for Newcastle United under former owner Mike Ashley. The billionaire attempted to retitle St James Park the Sports Direct Arena (or something similar). Unfortunately for Ashley, nobody played ball.
Arsenal fans may well refer to their home as The Emirates; however, I’d be interested to see if they’d have got away with it at Highbury. Maybe us Hammers fans are more pliable, but I suspect not. I find it difficult to imagine arranging to meet my mate Tony at ‘The Allianz Bowel’. In fact, just saying it in my head makes me sick; I suspect saying the actual words from my mouth would produce a bout of retching.