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Tromsø IL claims European first with indigenous stadium moniker

Featured image credit: Troms Kraft

Energy company Troms Kraft has acquired naming rights to the home stadium of Norwegian football club Tromsø IL, with the partnership designed to make the Sámi language and culture more visible.

The deal officially rebrands Tromsø IL’s Alfheim Stadion as the Romssa Arena, which translates as “Tromsø’s Arena” in Northern Sámi.

According to Tromsø IL, the deal marks the first time a professional sports stadium in Europe has featured the language of an indigenous people in its name. According to reports, the deal will run for five years and will be worth NOK12.5m (£971,000/€1.1m/$1.2m).

The stadium deal ties in with plans for a wider investment in the Sámi language in the Norwegian regions of Troms and Finnmark. Tromsø is Northern Norway’s largest city and the municipality in Norway with the most inhabitants registered in the Sámi Parliament’s electoral roll.

In a statement, Troms Kraft chief executive Semming Semmingsen and Tromsø IL general manager Øyvind Alapnes said: “We want Romssa Arena to be experienced as a home ground for everyone who lives in Northern Norway. We do this through a joint effort to make Sámi language and culture more visible in the stadium and through top football.”

Semmingsen added: “As a publicly owned power company, we have a distinctive social responsibility linked to our operations. We want to contribute to taking care of Sámi language and culture at a time when this culture is put under pressure from society at large. 

“This includes our own operation and development of power generation and network infrastructure. We know that our operations have consequences for nature and the reindeer herding districts that are affected. We therefore go to great lengths to adapt and find mitigating measures, and we will also help to support Sámi language and culture through the collaboration with Tromsø IL.”

Alapnes said the rebranded stadium will have a Northern Norwegian and Sámi identity. This season, fans will be able to buy Sámi food at the stadium, while Tromsø IL will continue to play with a Sámi captain’s armband.

The stadium name change has also received support from the Sámi Parliament. Toms Kraft previously served as a commercial partner of Tromsø IL.