Iconic Wankhede Stadium could be renamed
In what may be a game changing proposition, Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium could soon be renamed. Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) is evaluating proposals from three corporate groups- IMG-Reliance, DDB Mudra, and Baseline Ventures, for selling the naming rights of the stadium. If the deal goes through, it will only be a second time a stadium would have sold its naming rights, in India.
Pune's cricket stadium was the only stadium in India to have sold its naming rights when it became Subrata Roy Sahara cricket stadium. The deal fell through after the firm ran into financial difficulties.
IMG-Reliance, also the owner of IPL franchise Mumbai Indians, whose home ground happens to be Wankhede, has quoted Rs 12-15 crore investment per year, for a five year deal. Baseline Ventures, a sports marketing and media group, on the other hand, promised Rs 5-6 crore per year. The highest offer so far came from media agency Mudra which quoted Rs 40-45 crore per annum.
While it is common in the west to rename sporting arenas after sponsorship deals, it has taken this long to happen in India because most of the sporting venues here are not privately owned. They are either government-owned or built on government land and are mostly named after politicians. Wankhede, for instance, is named after former politician and cricket administrator SK Wankhede.
Earlier in 1987, Eden gardens toyed with the idea of selling naming rights but failed due to "litigations and word of caution from BCCI that stadium cannot be renamed after a company so as to not find itself in a ambush marketing situation during an ICC event." Last year, Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi international stadium also tried this and failed due to internal politics.
Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, Manchester City's Etihad stadium, Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena are some examples of this popular sponsorship model in football. England's Oval cricket stadium being renamed as The Kia Oval is another such example.