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SBD Global/January 25, 2013/Franchises

Rangers Fans Agree To Rename Ibrox With Sports Direct Likely To Secure Naming Rights

Fans are endorsing Rangers' plans to sell the naming rights for Ibrox stadium.
Scottish Third Division side Rangers supporters have "given their backing to proposed plans to sell the naming rights to the club's Ibrox stadium," according to the SCOTSMAN. At a meeting held in Ibrox Wednesday night, around 300 fans’ group and supporters’ club representatives "were told that Rangers would not record a profit this season," with CEO Charles Green "stressing the importance of exploring all revenue possibilities." Rangers "are set to turn over a sum between" £25M-£30M ($39.5M-$47.4M), and Green "is currently in talks with a number of potential sponsors," with Newcastle United Owner Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct firm "in pole position to secure the rights to rename the stadium." Any deal brokered "would still include the Ibrox name, a move that most fans were happy to support" (SCOTSMAN, 1/24).

SOME OPPOSITION: In Glasgow, Gary Ralston reported Green "is likely to conclude a short-term deal as Rangers battle back to the top flight of the Scottish game," and he has "not ruled out a long-term tie up in the future, maybe for even up to 25 years." Rangers Supporters Assembly spokesperson Ross Blyth said: "There was a bit of opposition from some fan groups, that was actually welcomed by Green. There are valid reasons for their reluctance to back the proposal, particularly the heritage and history around Rangers and Ibrox. But the majority of fans were with him in considering any proposals, so long as the Ibrox name was retained and logos placed carefully around the stadium" (DAILY RECORD, 1/24).

GETTING BACK ON TRACK: Also in Glasgow, Chris Jack wrote Green's "bid to find a sponsor for Ibrox is just one of his plans to increase income streams for the club." He also revealed that a new shirt sponsor and manufacturer "will be announced a week on Monday, with any deals only being done on a one-year rolling contract basis" (EVENING TIMES, 1/24).
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