The Millennium Stadium will become known as the Principality Stadium from 1 January 2016. The first match played at the newly-named venue takes place on 13 February when Wales face Scotland in the Six Nations.
The full value of the naming rights have not been revealed due to commercial sensitivities on both side, but the Western Mail reports it to be worth somewhere in the region of £15m over 10 years.
Of course this is not the first time the stadium name has changed. The National Stadium was opened in April 1984 and replaced by the newly constructed ‘Millennium Stadium’ in June 1999, in time for the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Its £121m construction was funded to the tune of £46m by the Millennium Commission, which resulted in its name.
10 reasons to cheer the Principality Stadium name change
- Millennium is so last Millennium. During the late 1990’s many businesses looked to capitalise on the ‘once in our lifetime’ calendar event of a new Millennium. Since then many small businesses as well as venues such as the Millennium Dome, also built with Millennium Commission funding, have changed their name.
- It’s not the ‘Sport Direct.com Stadium’ home of Newcastle United Football Club or ‘KFC Yum! Centre’ home of Louisville Cardinals Basketball Team or, even worse, ‘A Le Coq Arena’ home of the Estonian National Football Team. Thankfully the Principality Stadium has a timeless quality that will outlive the current 10-year sponsorship deal.
- It seems fitting that Principality Building Society, Wales’ largest and the UK’s sixth largest building society, supports one of the most iconic buildings in Wales.
- Both organisations are steeped in Welsh history. Principality Building Society was founded in 1861 and the Welsh Rugby Union was founded almost 20 years later in 1880. Both are part of the fabric of the Welsh landscape.
- The deal follows a long and fruitful relationship of sponsorship between Principality Building Society and Welsh Rugby, stemming back to 1969 with the offering of some of the first WRU debenture seats.
- It’s fitting that both organisations are there to serve their members (300 member clubs of the WRU and more than 500,000 members of the Building society), that effectively means both organisations are owned by the nation.
- When a financial institution buys a sponsorship, they’re not just getting the right to paste their name on a big building — they become financial partners with the team. This gives Welsh Rugby Union additional financial weight for any future loans or agreements they enter into.
- The suggested value of the naming rights, reportedly £15m over 10 years, gives the WRU the extra financial muscle to continuing developing grass roots rugby in Wales while securing elite players in Wales on National Dual Contracts.
- The 500,000+ members of the Principality Building Society are likely to be offered exclusive deals, special events and behind the scenes access thanks to their partnership.
- The Principality Building Society and the Welsh Rugby Union can together create a culture that engages the Welsh community and continues to put Wales on the map of unique sporting experiences.
Image courtesy of WRU