Following rumours of an alleged interview on Kuwaiti TV with Nottingham forest chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi, it has been suggested that the 116 year old City Ground Stadium will be renamed the ‘Kuwait’ City ground Stadium. The change will undoubtedly prove controversial but news coming from Kuwait this morning could soften the blow for Reds fans.
In an interview on Andy Whittaker’s BBC Radio Nottingham show (2 hours 40 minutes in) Kuwaiti sports journalist and TV analyst Mohammed Said has revealed he expects the fee paid by the Kuwait government to the Al Hasawis could be “not less then half a billion (pounds)” over 10 years. This was after he was pushed for a figure. This deal would be a record breaker and huge for any club in the world, let alone one in the championship, so it should be taken with a pinch of salt. Said has been the BBC’s go to man for anything related too the Al Hasawi families overseas doings and has been reliable as of yet.
To put the fee into context, Derby County recently sold the naming rights of Pride Park too sports drink manufacturer iPro for £7 million over 10 years, 1.4% of Forests supposed fee. An even more disturbing comparison is Arsenal who struck an extension deal for naming rights with the Emirates in 2012 worth £150m over 5 years.
In the modern world of inflated prices in football there is little room left for sentiment, thus fans must get over the idea of tradition. Clubs must look down every possible angle to generate funds and selling stadium naming rights is becoming an ever more popular method in England. Should Forest eventually strike a deal even worth one 20th of the £500m talked about it would be a very large deal for this level, and with financial fair plays rules becoming stricter by the year clubs have to find ways to avoid to huge losses they’re currently making.