Twickenham stands alone among the stadiums of the home unions as unsponsored but Ian Ritchie would not rule out a naming-rights deal should the right package be presented. “There’s nothing specific at the moment,” the chief executive of the RFU said. “We haven’t had a proposal but you would look at it. All the money we get goes back into the game, so I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. It’s the nature of the beast.”
It seems extraordinary that no organisation has approached the RFU on the matter. The Welsh Rugby Union became the latest to succumb to a stadium rebrand, changing the Millennium Stadium’s name at the start of this year to the Principality Stadium in a 10-year deal thought to be worth £15m. Lansdowne Road has been known as the Aviva Stadium since the new stadium was built in 2010.
On the surface of it, though, Scotland have struck the best deal. For what is understood to be a £20m, four-year arrangement, they have been allowed to retain their traditional stadium name of Murrayfield, merely appending the prefix BT.
The RFU’s decision, should it come to it, will be fraught with such notions of tradition and dignity. “You’ve got to make sure it’s the right deal,” Ritchie said. “There are some brand associations that would be more challenging than others. Wembley took the ‘in association with’ option, rather than simple naming rights. There’s a balance between that and maintaining the heritage and tradition. And, frankly, what’s the money on the table?”
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