Real Madrid’s head of global partnerships has said he believes the club’s revamped Santiago Bernabéu stadium “would not benefit from a corporate name”.
The apparent change in strategy was revealed by David Hopkinson, the club’s global partnership director, in an interview with the football news site World Football Summit.
“I think everything is possible, but we are not working on that at the moment,” said Hopkinson. “My personal opinion is that we have a huge range of opportunities that do not require changing the name of the stadium.
“I am not sure that putting a corporate name was the right thing to do. In fact, it would probably be a mistake.
“There are certain stadiums around the world that are iconic, like Old Trafford or Madison Square Garden, which I think would not benefit from a corporate name. I think the Santiago Bernabéu would be one of them,”
The comments represent a volte-face for the club on the sale of naming rights for the projected €525m ($585m) Bernabéu stadium renovation, which is expected to be completed by 2023.
Club president Florentino Pérez said in 2013 that the club would seek a naming partner to finance the construction. The club has since failed to lure brands to a property that is not a new build.
LaLiga rival Barcelona has similarly failed to sell the naming rights to its revamped Camp Nou stadium project, which includes the surrounding ‘Espai Barça’ campus. But the Catalan club has not yet given up on a sale.
Hopkinson was more upbeat about the commercial rights connected with the formation of a Real Madrid women’s team for the 2020-21 season.
“I have spoken with many real and potential partners who are equally excited and who tell me that they really needed to take this step. It is a way of demonstrating with facts that we care about inclusion, that we are committed to equality and our commitment to social values,” he said.