Scottish rugby chiefs "are set to sell the naming rights to Murrayfield stadium" to BT in a £20M ($34M) deal, according to the SCOTSMAN. The agreement would see the Scotland Rugby Union’s debt of £11M ($18M) wiped out, "while providing a boost for Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors by allowing them funding to strengthen their squads in time for next season." BT will also have its name on the Scotland jersey in the long term, with the BT Sport Stadium, the BT Sport Murrayfield Stadium and BT Murrayfield Stadium "just three of the names under consideration." SRU CEO Mark Dodson and Commercial Operations Chief Dominic McKay "have been working behind the scenes to strike the deal, following BT’s foray into the sporting world with their TV channels." As part of the deal to rename Murrayfield, BT is "also expected to try and encourage the stadium to be used for other events, including music concerts, with One Direction set to perform in the summer" (SCOTSMAN, 5/15). In Edinburgh, Bill Lothian wrote Murrayfield Stadium, in the west of Edinburgh, has been the home of Scottish rugby since '25 "and there is bound to be some resistance to renaming such an iconic venue which has played host to three home grand slams and such diverse events as a Rolling Stones concert and even a Papal address." However, "in view of the financial situation, the consensus is likely to be in favour of a change" (EDINBURGH NEWS, 5/14).
J-Village, the base camp for "thousands of nuclear power plant workers" since Japan's '11 Fukushima disaster, will be "cleaned up and reopened as sports training facility in time for" the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to Danielle Demetriou of the London TELEGRAPH. J-Village is located on the "fringes of the 12 mile exclusion zone around Fukushima’s nuclear power plant and has been taken over by operators Tokyo Electric Power Company" since the March '11 earthquake and tsunami disaster. Japan Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura said that the complex will now face an "extensive clean-up in preparation for its transformation into a major national practice facility for the 2020 Olympics." Shimomura: “We must improve the circumstances so that soccer players not only from Japan but also from abroad can hold training camps there in advance [of the Games],” To "deal with the nuclear crisis, the site was transformed to accommodate helipads, a large medical centre, cafeteria and extensive decontamination procedures" for workers returning from the plant in their "distinct white protective suits and masks." The use of the site as a key practice venue for the 2020 Olympics is "widely supported in the region in the hope that it will contribute to post-disaster reconstruction and highlight its safety in the aftermath of the nuclear crisis" (TELEGRAPH, 5/14). The ASAHI SHIMBUN reported TEPCO said in January that it plans to "return the J-Village training center" around '18 to the operator of the facility, which was jointly established by the Japan FA, the Fukushima prefectural government, TEPCO and other organizations. TEPCO President Naomi Hirose said at that time, "The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is a good target." The government plans to have the Olympic training facility "up and running" by '19 (ASAHI SHIMBUN, 5/13).
Seoul Metropolitan Government Sports Promotion Department Dir Oh Se-jung said that Korea Baseball Organization club Nexen Heroes, which play their home games at "Mokdong Baseball Stadium in western Seoul, have tentatively agreed to move to the Gocheok Dome next season," according to the KOREA JOONGANG DAILY. The 220B won ($191.8M) baseball field has been considered one of the municipal government’s "white elephants as it has so far failed to lure one of the three Seoul-based teams: the Heroes, LG Twins and Doosan Bears." The Heroes said that there are "mountains of problems to solve before making a move." A team spokesperson said, "Nothing has been decided yet." The city government plans to hold a "series of amateur baseball events when the Heroes don't have games, but the team says that is unacceptable." The other concern is "business rights within the ballpark, including revenue from advertising inside the stadium" (KOREA JOONGANG DAILY, 5/16).
Bundesliga club Hannover 96 will invest €20M ($27.4M) "in a new youth academy and new construction," according to Michael Nicolay of BILD. The club and the city "have agreed to transform the historic Eilenriedestadion into a new youth academy." Hannover Mayor Stefan Schostok said, "The solution is very good and has a great long-term perspective." The stadium's field "will be rotated by 90 degrees, its historic stand renovated and new locker rooms installed." In addition, the stadium "will get two new stands to provide seating for 2,500 spectators." The club will also build a "new three-story boarding school with room for 16 players." The building will include state-of-the-art amenities and be located in "close proximity to the stadium and the academy's five practice fields." Construction "is expected to start in the summer of '15." Club President Martin Kind said, "It is an investment into the future and in our competitiveness" (BILD, 5/16).
Real Madrid "is not forgetting its Theme Park, a project that has not seen light, but one that the club is continuing to work on," according to Pablo Polo of MARCA. The club is "considering various proposals for a leisure and entertainment area" to be built on 90 hectares in Madrid's Valdebebas urban development zone. Real President Florentino Pérez and Marketing Dir José Ángel Sánchez "held a meeting on Wednesday with a U.S.-based company on the land and listened to one idea for what could become Real Madrid's Theme Park." The club does not want "an amusement park but a place where fans can interact with Real Madrid stars." The "proposal from the Americans will not be the only one considered." The project will "feature a competition among bidders and Real will choose the one that best meets the needs of its members and fans." Real is calculating that "a park in Valdebebas could draw nearly 2 million visitors per year" (MARCA, 5/15).