Stadium naming rights could bring in £10 million, claims Newcastle United managing director Derek Llambias

Magpies changed the name of St. James' Park to the Sports Direct Arena with a view to new sponsorship in the future, with the club maintaining that it is financially necessary
Newcastle United managing director Derek Llambias has claimed that the club's stadium naming rights could be worth up to £10 million a season.

The Magpies announced that St. James' Park would become the Sports Direct Arena as the club seek to showcase the potential of the naming rights to prospective new sponsors.

Llambias explained that the move was financially necessary, citing the example of Chelsea, who are also set to sell the naming rights of Stamford Bridge despite the backing they already receive in the form of billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

"I would hope it would generate between £8 million and £10 million a year," he told BBC Radio Newcastle. "That would give us another player.

"The club needs to be self-sufficient, and this will help us be self-sufficient.

"Yes, we do need to go that one step further to compete. Yes, we do.

"You know Chelsea has come out to basically say they are going to re-name their present stadium. Now, they have a long history as well, but they have an owner who actually has more money than God.

"We can't compare ourselves to Abramovich, we have not got that sort of money, so if we want to compete with the big boys, we have to bring more money in."

Llambias also reassured fans that the funds raised would be put towards new players, with Newcastle looking to capitalise on a superb start to the Premier League season.

"We have had an exceptional year, and long may it continue, but the fans want us to buy more players," he said.

"We need to bring in a striker in January, we will need replacements in the summer and we need to give ourselves as much as possible.

"There is no guarantee we will find a sponsor between now and then, but we have to give ourselves the opportunity and this is one.

"We have to keep going at it. We can't just say 'Oh, it hasn't worked out, let's go back to what we were'. We have to give ourselves the maximum opportunity to sell it."

Fans should be happy, Llambias added, that the club were exploring all possible revenue streams in order to help the club prosper.

"I totally respect the tradition and history of the club," he said. "That is always going to be there, but we need to move with the times and this is progression.

"We need to move on. We are not disrespecting our fans at all. Far from it.

"We are trying to make it affordable and put players on the pitch.

"We have exhausted all our other revenue streams, retail is not good - that produces next to nothing, quite honestly - so we need to bring in more, quite honestly.

"We have been out there a long time looking. We lose Northern Rock as a sponsor this year, so it gives me a very small window to get a new shirt sponsor and hopefully a stadium sponsor at the same time."

Llambias also dismissed concerns that fans would simply continue to refer to the stadium as St. James' Park.

"We understand that side of it, but it is the sponsor's responsibility, as well as ours, to move forward. Time will dissolve that.

"The history will always be there, we just become part of the history or they become part of the history. We just need to make sure we give ourselves the opportunity."