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BR Video: Naming rights deals risk alienating public

LONDON - Consumers are resistant to the idea of brand naming rights deals, such as Newcastle United's plan to rename St James' Park, one of England's oldest football grounds, according to members of the public interviewed in the latest BR Video.

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Newcastle United announced last week that it was looking to sell the naming rights to St James' Park, where it has played since 1892.

Brand Republic interviewed members of the public who mostly agreed that they would not like traditional locations to be renamed because they lose their sentiment.

One lady said: "I think everything is becoming so much more commercial now and everything is losing its sense of tradition. It wouldn't appeal to me to go to somewhere where they've completely changed the name because everyone gets used to one specific name."

Another said: "I don't think people generally like change. You don't want your local pub to be renamed the 'Dog and Duck' when it has been the 'Prince of Wales' for 30 years, especially if it is to do with monetary gain. I don't think it's a very popular thing."

Separately, another respondent said: "I wouldn't like it. No. It would damage the image in my mind — my view of it."

However, one gentleman understood that selling the brand naming rights provides a much needed cash injection to some institutions. He said: "I'm an Arsenal fan and we have the Emirates stadium so I'm cool with that. It's given money to the club."

Another football fan also understood the reasons for a name change but was still opposed to the idea. He said: "I see why people are doing it because it's all about money and showing their brand off but again if it was my stadium — I'm a Chelsea fan, if it was Stamford Bridge — to change the name, it becomes less personal."

Some respondents felt that there should be some advertising restrictions put in place for brands but did not know where the line should be drawn. Ultimately, they said, it is up to the owners.

One lady said: "I think brands should be restricted in what they can and how they can advertise. They do have a lot of freedom and sometimes it is abused — purely for them to make as much money as they can."

Another said: "It's up to the owners really. It's up to them to make a decision about their customers and their clients and the kind of image they want to portray."

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