Stoke: is time up for the Britannia Stadium?
With the Britannia Building Society likely to merge with the Co-op Bank later this year, is this the end of the line for the Britannia Stadium?
The Leek based mutual building society has announced plans to merge with the Cooperative Bank and, if this happens, the Britannia name will disappear. They've paid up to £1m per year for the naming rights of the Brit since it was built back in 1997 and so it promises to be a big change for both fans and the club, even if the new combined financial institution continues it's sponsorship but under a new name. Along with the shirt sponsorship that's also backed by the Britannia it's sure to be causing some consternation amongst the commercial guys at the club.
With the credit crunch some clubs are having difficulty finding anyone prepared to spend the money. West Brom have had no shirt sponsor this season after T-Mobile pulled out last year and West Ham lost their sponsor for a time when the low-cost airline XL.com went bust.
Fans would probably be pleased if they could buy their shirts without having to be a walking advertising hoarding but there is no doubt that in this day and age the money it brings into the club is invaluable.
Whilst any change of shirt sponsor is not likely to trouble many fans unduly, a change in the stadium naming rights is likely to be met with dismay as the Britannia Stadium has become inextricably linked to Stoke City Football Club and is now a well known local landmark.
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