Last week, media from all over the world featured the interview with the Head of Global Partnership for Real Madrid, David Hopkinson, conducted by our Communications team and published on the World Football Summit website Wednesday afternoon.
Key general, financial and sports outlets from Spain, Italy, France or Mexico, such as El País, Marca, El Economista, Reason Why, BFMTV, Calcio e Finanza, as well as websites specializing in the sports industry like SportsProMedia or SportBusiness, echoed some of the thoughts shared by the Real Madrid executive ahead of his participation as a speaker at WFS19.
The media highlighted in particular his statement turning down a potential naming deal of Santiago Bernabéu stadium once the redevelopment works are finished. Among other achievements, as a Chief Commercial Officer for the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), Hopkinson played a key role in the multimillion deal signed with Scotiabank for the naming rights of the former Air Canada Center. That’s why, when he landed in Madrid a year ago, many people thought that one of his first missions would be finding a naming partner for the new Bernabéu.
However, this is not over the table at the moment. “We are not working on that right now. Me personal views is that we have an extraordinary set of revenue opportunities that don’t involve changing the name of the stadium. I’m not sure if putting a corporate name on it would be the right thing, in fact it would probably be the wrong thing”, Hopkinson told WFS.
Hopkinson thinks that Santiago Bernabéu, named after a club’s former president and almost a sacred figure for Real Madrid fans, is one of those iconic venues that wouldn’t benefit from a corporate name. That doesn’t mean, however, that Real Madrid should be forgoing the potential revenues provided by a venue partnership. In this regard, the deal between New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden and Chase (JP Morgan) could be an interesting path to explore for clubs that are deeply connected to their grounds, such as Real Madrid, Manchester United or Liverpool.
Smart venues and how they can unleash a whole new set of revenue opportunities for football properties both during match days and off-season will be a big topic during WFS19, to take place in Madrid on September 24th and 25th. David Hopkinson will be joined by other leaders of the football industry such as Javier Tebas, President of LaLiga; Peter Moore, CEO fo Liverpool; Yon de Luisa, President of the Mexican Football Federation; Emilio Garcia, Chief Legal Officer for FIFA; Charlie Marshall, Managing Director for the European Club Association; Peter Kenyon, founder of The Coaches’ Voice, and leading executives representing brands like Alipay, Rakuten or DAZN.