Coca-Cola could put its name on Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu stadium, according to MUNDO DEPORTIVO. Sports marketing agency Euromericas said that Coca-Cola is "willing to offer" €80M ($108.8M) per year to Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez to finance "the remodeling of the stadium in exchange for having the beverage company's name on the stadium." The estimated cost to remodel the Bernabéu is around €450M ($612M). Pérez has "reportedly been negotiating with Microsoft about a possible naming rights deal" -- though Microsoft "later denied reports of those negotiations." However, "a delay in sealing an agreement with Microsoft made many think that there was a possible block in those negotiations." Selling "naming rights for a stadium to a multinational company has become habitual in recent years." EPL side Arsenal "did so with its stadium (Emirates), as did Bayern Munich (Allianz Arena), among others" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 1/16). MARKETING DIRECTO reported Coca-Cola is a "huge advertiser in the world of sports." In "recent months, a lot has been said about the possibility of the Bernabéu being sponsored by Microsoft, but it seems that Coca-Cola's offer is economically superior to the proposed sponsorships that have been considered until now" (MARKETING DIRECTO, 1/16).
German company IFS "has reached an agreement with the Bulgarian Football Union to build a new modern stadium in Sofia," according to Alexander Krassimirov of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. The facility "will be built on the site of Slavia stadium and will be the national stadium for home games as well as being used by Slavia FC." The "seemingly on-off negotiations to turn the stadium talks into reality have ended positively." Construction of the facility could start "as early as the spring of 2014." The new stadium "will have a capacity for 33,000 spectators and will be used in Bulgaria's bid to be one of the hosts of Euro 2020." Originally it was proposed that Slavia "would share the stadium with CSKA Sofia, but the Reds categorically refused to leave their current home Bulgarska armia" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 1/16).
Organizers said that Brazilian clubs "will be able to use the Maracana for domestic matches until a month before the World Cup, which opens June 12," according to the AFP. Several of the 12 World Cup venues "are running behind schedule." Despite concerns over other venues, FIFA delegate Chris Unger indicated "the organization was happy with domestic games to continue through to May at the Maracana, which underwent a multimillion [dollar] refurbishment prior to last June's Confederations Cup." He said, "The point of this visit was not to redesign the stadium -- it's a beautiful stadium. The purpose of the first visit since the Confederations Cup is to review, together with the local organizing committee, FIFA, the host city and the stadium operator (a private consortium) findings from the Confederations Cup and ... adaptations we need to make for the World Cup." Unger stressed that use of the stadium "fell within the remit of the stadium owners and the Brazilian football authorities, not FIFA but added 'there is an ongoing dialogue' between all parties concerned" (AFP, 1/16).
The Australian Capital Territory government claims the A$1.5M ($1.3M) project to rectify the Narrabundah Velodrome "will improve track cycling opportunities in the territory for at least the next 20 years," according to Chris Wilson of the CANBERRA TIMES. Canberra cyclists "have been shut out of the facility since April last year." The velodrome "is on track to reopen at the end of February and the government has not ruled out adding lighting in the future." The controversial decision to close the facility "angered some of Canberra’s cycling fraternity." ATC Government Project Manager Brian Ashcroft said that the upgrade "would give the facility new life." Ashcroft said that the improvements, which include adding an acrylic Plexipave surface to the concrete track, "would alleviate issues for at least 20 years" (CANBERRA TIMES, 1/16).