Coventry’s Ricoh Arena will change identity for the first time since it opened after Coventry Building Society today (Wednesday) agreed a 10-year deal to become the stadium’s new naming rights partner.
The financial services group agreed the contract with venue owners, Wasps Group, with the stadium to be known as Coventry Building Society Arena from this summer. Japanese electronics company Ricoh has held naming rights to the facility since the 32,000-capacity venue opened in 2005.
The venue is the home of Premiership rugby union club Wasps and its associated netball team. The new sponsorship agreement comes as it prepares to welcome back Championship football club Coventry City in August, before hosting a Rugby League World Cup clash in October, as well as being part of Coventry UK City of Culture and next year’s Commonwealth Games.
In March, Coventry City and Wasps ended the period of enmity between the two organisations with an agreement for the football team to return to the Ricoh Arena. The two parties signed a 10-year license for Coventry to play its home matches at the Arena until 2031, from the start of the 2021-22 season.
Coventry currently plays matches at St Andrew’s, home of Championship rival Birmingham City, due to a long-running battle between Sisu, which owns the football club, and Wasps Holdings Limited, the parent company of Wasps and the Ricoh Arena, where Coventry had previously played its home games.
There are also redevelopment plans afoot for Ricoh Arena. Proposals to transform Ricoh Arena ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games progressed last month after stadium chiefs unveiled plans to construct a new entrance and convention centre.
Wasps Group submitted a planning application to Coventry City Council to develop a pavilion entrance at the south side of the venue, along with a state-of-the-art Commonwealth Convention Centre in the venue’s existing lower halls ahead of the sporting events it will host at Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games.
Stephen Vaughan, Wasps Group chief executive, said today: “This is far more than simply a naming rights deal – it will see Coventry Building Society working in partnership with us to put the stadium and its fantastic facilities at the heart of the community.
“Coventry Building Society, like our venue, has strong local roots and a national reach, and we are looking forward to supporting each other over the coming years. On behalf of the venue I’d also like to place on record my sincere thanks to Ricoh, who have been a brilliant sponsor and partner over the years, and we look forward to continue working with them in the future.”
Steve Hughes, CEO of Coventry Building Society, added: “Two of the biggest brands in the area joining forces shows our commitment to the city and it comes at an exciting time when UK City of Culture and the Commonwealth Games brings Coventry into the international spotlight.
“The Coventry Building Society Arena puts our name on the map and will raise our profile across the UK. We already have more than two million members, but this is a statement of intent that shows we want to grow further and help many more people achieve their financial aspirations.
“Coventry Building Society and Wasps already work to support local communities in Coventry and Warwickshire. By joining forces, we plan to make the Coventry Building Society Arena a focal point for the community, bringing together people and organisations across the city to make a positive difference to everyone who lives here.”