In mid-2017 Stoke City will for the first time invite up to 30,000 people to their stadium. By that time it will be known as bet365 Stadium, following a new naming rights deal.
Yesterday Stoke City confirmed their further cooperation with largest online betting provider, bet365. The gambling giant won’t only be present on shirts (as it has to date), but also grabbed naming rights for Britannia Stadium.
Formally the bet365 Stadium naming won’t be used until the beginning of 2016/17 Premier League season, but officials already used it yesterday. This makes sense especially that Britannia, the brand currently used in stadium naming, is being withdrawn after merger with Co-operative Bank.
For both bet365 and Stoke City it’s not only a commercial deal, but part of building a local identity. The company has headquarters in Stoke-on-Trent, is the single largest employer of the city with 3,000 people hired and in fact... owns Stoke City FC, which makes it a natural partnership.
While the sum for 6-year naming rights hasn’t been revealed, it’s understood Stoke City now finally have the comfort to follow on their long-anticipated plans of stadium expansion. First announced in 2012 and with planning permission since 2013, the filling of south-eastern corner had been on hold until now.
Additional 1,800 covered seats will be built by the end of the 2016/17 campaign, increasing capacity to 30,000 in just over a year from now. The stadium will become symmetric for the first time, though we’ve already seen criticism for the loss of its unique shape.