Melbourne's Etihad Stadium will be renamed Marvel Stadium in an eight-year sponsorship deal from September, according to ABC NEWS. The deal will include a "complete re-branding of the venue and the opening of a new premium Marvel store within the stadium precinct." The news comes just one month after the Victorian Government committed A$225M ($170.5M) worth of investment to the stadium and "wider Docklands precinct." Melbourne Stadiums Ltd. CEO Michael Green said, "Now, we look forward to a new era of entertainment for the stadium where we will push the envelope and continue to deliver world-class events and fan engagement." Although "the reaction has been mixed from fans," RMIT marketing expert Con Stavros said that he was "positive about the deal." Stavros: "I don't mind the name Marvel Stadium. I actually see, finally, a connection with the two brands" (ABC NEWS, 5/24). In Melbourne, Simone Fox Koob reported Green said that the rebranding will not "shove things down people's throats." He "vowed to enhance the experience for punters rather than overwhelm them with branding." He said in a statement, "Marvel is a powerhouse in the entertainment industry and one of the most recognised brand names in the world. It is a brand dedicated to audience experiences, which firmly aligns with our vision to create incredible experiences for fans." He added that aspects of the stadium such as the gate numbering system will stay the same, "but people arriving for events will see more street art and interactive, technological installations when they walk in." He said, "People will notice immediately from the first of September it is very much branded Marvel." Green promised halftime entertainment at Australian Football League matches "would remain the same, though signage and advertising around the scoreboard could change." He also said that the rebranding would not Americanize the stadium (THE AGE, 5/24).
REUNITED: The London GUARDIAN reported it is not the first time Marvel and the AFL have teamed up -- in '15, the Sunday Funday promotion was launched, "which grants children free general admission to games on Sundays." Marvel is also involved with the National Rugby League in its superhero round, "during which players don comic-book themed jerseys" (GUARDIAN, 5/24).
YOUTH MOVEMENT: In Melbourne, Jake Niall wrote the AFL was keen to partner with Walt Disney's Marvel brand "in part to bring more kids to the football and to bring new entertainment options to its ground." But the tenant clubs and the other AFL clubs "will not benefit directly" from the Disney/Marvel deal, which is "understood to be the brainchild" of Disney Australia & New Zealand Senior VP & Managing Dir Kylie Watson-Wheeler, "who also sits on the board of the Western Bulldogs, an Etihad tenant club." The re-named stadium "will have the potential to host Disney events" and will have a designated "Marvel" area at the ground. The AFL has already discussed the possibility of Marvel Stadium hosting an "enormous global movie premiere for one of the popular Marvel movies, which have had a huge run of success at the Australian box office." The AFL said that while it is "keen to encourage kids and is keen on the possibilities that Marvel offers, it will not allow for games to be disrupted by invasive entertainment" as a result of the name change (THE AGE, 5/24).