Fan Experience

Manchester United fans want to be consulted over naming rights plans

Featured image credit:  Thomas Foster on Unsplash

Manchester United’s main supporters’ group has said fans should be consulted over any plans to sell naming rights for Old Trafford.

The Athletic reported last week that the club is considering commercial deals that could help fund the redevelopment of Old Trafford or construction of a new stadium.

The story suggests that a new ground could take on the name of a main sponsor. However, should United stay at Old Trafford it is more likely that the club would look for an associated partner. This is the model used by Wembley with EE and FC Barcelona with Spotify.

Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) said the notion of a commercial partner’s name being associated with the club’s home ground is a “highly emotive” one.

“As to whether the club should sell off stadium naming rights this has long been a highly emotive issues which affects fans directly,” the MUST statement reads. “Fans need to be at the heart of these decisions and we expect the club to start consultation before decisions are made. MUST will be consulting supporters so that their views are heard.”

Wembley of the North

Manchester United co-owner, Jim Ratcliffe, recently gave his backing to the case for public money to help fund the club’s ‘Wembley of the North’ stadium plan.

The Premier League club is exploring options for future stadium plans, with options including the redevelopment of Old Trafford and, most likely, the construction of a new stadium on an adjacent area of land.

Ratcliffe recently set out his vision for a 100,000-capacity stadium for the club that would rival the revamped Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and Spotify Camp Nou. That was followed by the creation of the Old Trafford Regeneration Task Force, led by Sebastian Coe and featuring former club captain Gary Neville and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham. The taskforce is to oversee options for the regeneration of the Old Trafford area of Greater Manchester, with the development of a “world-class” football stadium at the heart of the project.

“It’s about time someone built a national stadium in the north of England,” said Ratcliffe, who said a new stadium would be preferred over a redevelopment of the existing Old Trafford venue.