Because Real Madrid don’t have enough money, they’re selling decades of tradition to the highest bidder. And because elite soccer is now owned by oil and gas billionaire oligarchs, the highest bidder is in the United Arab Emirates.
So get ready for the Abu Dhabi Bernabéu. According to AS, that’s what Real’s stadium is going to be renamed as part of a $23m/year sponsorship deal. So long, Santiago!
Last November, Real president Florentino Pérez was caught on camera saying that the emirate was going to call the arena “whatever they want.” And it seems that they want to call it “Abu Dhabi.” In return for this little slice of the club’s soul, the proceeds will go towards renovating the venerable venue.
Given that U.S. sports franchises have long led the way in selling stadium naming rights, it’d be surprising if more countries don’t spot the potential in such deals and follow suit.
Think of the possibilities:
- Russia Donbass Arena
- The U.S. Bombonera
- Parc des Princes des Deutchland
- The United Arab Emirates Emirates Stadium
- Morocco Estadio de Bata (Home of the 2015 AFCON final!)
- Dick’s Sporting Goods Park In Association With The Federated States of Micronesia
- New York City Etihad Stadium
- Her Majesty’s Department of Corrections presents Stadium Australia
Commercial globalization is truly a wondrous thing.