German 2.Bundesliga football club SV Darmstadt 98 has struck a long-term extension to its stadium naming rights deal with pharmaceuticals company Merck.

Under the new contract, the 17,000-capacity venue will continue to be known as the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor for a further six years, while Merck has also extended as a premium partner of the club through to 2024.

Merck has been a premium partner since 2015 after acquiring the stadium naming rights a year earlier. In the 2016-17 season, Merck gave up its naming rights to grant visibility to the ‘You Must Fight’ initiative of a charity dedicated to helping children suffering from cancer. The stadium was then known as Jonathan-Heimes-Stadion am Böllenfalltor.

The new deal includes an option for a further two-year extension. Darmstadt president Rüdiger Fritsch said: “This gives us planning security for the financing of stadium operations, and it should also be emphasised that Merck, as a large, traditional Darmstadt-based company, is a predestined partner for naming our stadium. We are very pleased that the suffix ‘am Böllenfalltor’ may also be included in the stadium name.

“It is another great sign that Merck is also retained as a premium partner of the club and has signed the contract for an unusual in football terms (length). The SV 98 needs exactly such long-term partnerships so that the association can develop successfully in the long term, and we would like to thank the Merck managers for their trust.”

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