Wonga rename Newcastle ground St James' Park in new sponsorship deal

The 'Sports Direct Arena' is no more after the digital finance company signed a comprehensive new four-year sponsorship deal with the Magpies which runs until 2017
The Sports Direct Arena will once again officially be known as St James' Park, after Newcastle United announced a new four-year sponsorship deal with digital finance company wonga.com which will make them the club's lead commercial sponsor.

The company will sponsor the team shirt from the beginning of the 2013-14 season, and will also invest in the club's academy. As well as this, they will invest in an existing programme, the Newcastle United Foundation Enterprise Scheme, which helps 15 and 16-year-olds find employment.

They will replace current sponsors Virgin Money as shirt sponsors, and will also launch other initiatives including forums with fans for discussing ideas for fan involvement and involving fans with the design of new shirts.

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A spokesman for Wonga said of the decision to rename the stadium: "We listened over the last three days and we saw what really matters to the fans.

"Football is an emotional sport and it is obviously really important to them. We listened to what they wanted and that is why we did it."

Newcastle's managing director Derek Llambias, meanwhile, believes the new deal will help bring the club closer to the commercial and footballing giants at the top of the Premier League.

"We are building a club that can regularly compete for top honours at the highest level," he told the club's official website.

"As everyone knows, a strong comercial programme is vital to this goal and I am delighted to welcome Wonga into the fold as our lead commerical partner, alongside Puma and Sports Direct.

"Throughout our discussions Wonga's desire to help us invest in our young playing talent, the local community and new fan initiatives really impressed us and stood them apart from other candidates."

Erro Damelin, founder and CEO of Wonga said: "We're really proud to be involved with Newcaste United.

"It is one of the biggest and most important clubs in the UK by any measure and has a fantastic following around the world. We're also really excited about investing in future stars both on and off the field. The academy and enterprise scheme gives us the opportunity to make a big difference.

"We have just launched and our small business offering and there are more great products to come. We know our customers love football and it goes without saying that, alongside Newcastle United, we will continue to support Blackpool and SFA Cup Winners Hearts."