It was announced this week that the Millennium Stadium is going to be changing it’s name to “The Principality Stadium” from 2016 following a ten year sponsorship deal that has been struck between the Welsh Rugby Union and the Cardiff-based building society.
I must say, I’m not a fan of these sorts of sponsorship deals. Many iconic grounds across the UK have been in similar situations – even the neighbouring Cardiff Arms Park is now officially titled “BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park” (although at least this is just an addition to the original name, and not a replacement). It’s the kind of move that will always split the fans. Obviously, there will be substantial financial gains to be made through striking such a deal, and that can only be good for the teams we support.
However, in my opinion, a name can be so important in sport. Wales play at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, right? It’s famous around the world! Rugby players, rugby fans, sports fans from across the globe know its name, and know what it means to run out onto that turf, or to belt out the anthem, to witness the highs and lows. Will the roof be open, or closed? When I hear the words “Millennium Stadium”, these are the images that come to mind. Might I add, it was opened just before the new millennium, partly funded by the millennium commission and, besides, it’s a really cool name!
I’m probably over-reacting a bit. Let’s just hope that we see as much success for the Welsh rugby team on the field of the Principality Stadium as we have at the Millennium Stadium over the past few years. Who knows, maybe even greater things will come with the new name…