South Africa: Sponsor wins battle over national stadium name
source: IOL.co.za; author: michał
It wasn’t until High Court’s decision that First National Bank secured its rights to be the naming rights owner for Soccer city. The latter name may no longer be used in official communication by third parties.
This is one of the longest naming rights deals still in place with the beginning back in 1989, when the venue opened its doors for the first time. First Rand banking group bought the rights for its brand First National Bank (FNB) and prolonged the deal last time in 2004, for the period of 10 years.
However, with World Cup 2010 preparations, the name Soccer City (working name for the redeveloped venue) became prevalent and some entities, including Stadium Management SA, started using it in official communication. Formally this was allowed for a period of app. three months before, during and just after the FIFA tournament. But to date hasn’t stopped and now Soccer City is perhaps the most recognized name for the venue.
This led FNB to protest and the company has just heard Johannesburg High Court’s ruling now. “For the time being, this court order resolves the on-going dispute in terms of the conduct of a third party and confirms the stadium name as 'FNB Stadium',” Samuels said in a statement.
“The bank is pleased with the successful outcome.” An interim court order obtained this week required Stadium Management SA to refer to the venue and/or the stadium whether direct or indirectly, only as the “FNB Stadium”.