Australian NRL rugby league club the Penrith Panthers is to rename its home ground after electing to retain the rights for the venue.

The 22,500-seat stadium is currently known as the Pepper Stadium as part of a naming-rights partnership with financial services company Pepper Money.

From January 1, the ground will be known as the Panthers Stadium after the team chose to forgo a title sponsor. The team will look to market the Panthers moniker both in its home market and internationally as part of the rebrand.

“In retaining the naming rights, Panthers intends to use the reach of the NRL to further promote the Panthers brand both nationally and overseas,” Panthers Group chairman Dave O’Neill said.

“This is a significant commitment from Panthers to the Penrith region, the game of rugby league and the members who have shared so many special moments at our beloved home ground over the last five decades.

“We look forward to adding another memorable chapter to our club’s proud history as the Panthers take the field at Panthers Stadium in 2018.”

Pepper Money has sponsored the venue for the past three years. Previous sponsors include betting companies Sportingbet and Centrebet, and Credit Union Australia, which took on naming rights in 2006.

The Panthers have played at the stadium since it opened in 1967. The ground has also staged international fixtures in the past, and served as a host venue during the 2008 Rugby League World Cup in Australia.

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