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July 21, Arena opens in Sandefjord. Norway is one of the best countries in adapting to the commercialization of football.


[football] – Football sells part of its soul when you sell the name of your home arena, says football expert in TV2, Anita Rapp to Ny Tid.

With the opening of Arena, we get the country's fifth arena with a sponsor name, this time it is the online store that is behind it. Ny Tid has reviewed the list of European stadium names, and has found that only German football clubs are ahead of Norway in commercial development. In Germany, 2/3 of all stadiums in the top division bear sponsor names. In the Nordic countries, Sweden has only one stadium with a sponsor name, Finland has three, while Denmark also has five. There are three in the football nation England, while countries such as Italy, France and Spain do not have any arenas with sponsor names. Director of Norwegian Top Football, Kjetil Siem confirms the trend.

- Norway is far ahead in Europe at this point, says the man who from August will be the new football manager in South Africa.

From association to business

Advertiser and founder of Dinamo, Ingebrigt Steen Jensen was the initiator behind the elite investment in Stabæk Football in the early 1990s, when the team was in the fourth division. He believes that Ny Tid's overview primarily says something about the rapid and enormous investment in arena development in Norway.

- Note that the clubs sell the name of the new stadium, you do not change the name of established arenas, says Steen Jensen.

No other sport can compare with football when it comes to financial muscle and spending money.

- Football has long since become a commercial industry, it is naive to believe that today's top football would do without sponsors, says Kjetil Siem.

While in the old days people talked about sports associations, today you can talk about companies. The popular football commentator at NRK, Arne Scheie, describes the trend as part of a trend that has been going on in recent years.

- Football has today become a rat race for money, says Scheie to Ny Tid.

The charm disappears

Norwegian football is in the wind like never before, and interest is constantly setting new records. TV2 and Telenor bought the TV rights to Norwegian football for a four-year period for NOK 2005 billion in the summer of 135. By comparison, the same rights were worth NOK 1997 million in 300 and NOK 2001 million in 2. Both times NRK and TVXNUMX cooperated to buy.

It is not just the media companies who want to participate in the financial round. The sponsors want to be made more visible, but it is not only the business sector that is responsible for the development, if one is to believe Steen Jensen.

- The clubs are undoubtedly horny about selling advertising space, says the man behind some of the most talked about and successful advertising campaigns in Norway.

- When the development has become as it has become, I understand the clubs. The income has to come from somewhere, says Arne Scheie.

As patriotism and interest grow, so does the amount of companies that want to be associated with a football. But it is an outgoing trend that sponsors are content with traditional, modest advertising space on suits and shorts.

- Norwegian football has been sponsored for a long time, says Ingebrigt Steen Jensen.

«Mr. Stabæk, "as Steen Jensen is often called, indicates that sponsored suits, match shows, and stands are quite common in today's top football, as well as advertising over the stadium's speakers.

TV2's Anita Rapp, who is a former Olympic winner and pro in the US, believes some of the charm of football will disappear as sponsors take over.

- It is quite clear that this is an unfortunate development, says Rapp, who in addition to his job at TV2 recently obtained a master's degree in political science at the University of Oslo.

"And here at Arena in Sandefjord is

the position to pause… »

- There is a strong trend in marketing that the sponsors are looking to find new meeting places with the audience, in that sense stadium sponsorship is ideal, says Ingebrigt Steen Jensen, who points out that this has been common in the US for a number of years.

The largest online store in the Nordic region,, is the latest company that wants to be closely associated with Norwegian football. Thus, Sandefjord gets the world's first arena named after an internet address.

- You call to hear more about this cruel stadium name yes, laughs CEO Eric Sandtrø when Ny Tid calls.

Sandtrø is the founder of the Sandefjord company, which has bought the rights to the stadium name of the new stadium for ten years, to the net sum of NOK 15 million.

- We have a tradition in Sandefjord for this with a little weird name for the stadium, Sandtrø chuckles further, and refers to the former home ground bearing the name Storstadion, despite the fact that it was among the Tippeligaen's smallest.

When the request to donate funds to the new stadium appeared on Sandtrø's desk in 2005, skepticism was great.

- My first thought was a clear no, but eventually we think that the idea at Arena was very good.

When asked why the online store chose to buy the stadium name, Sandtrø says it was for both local patriotic and commercial reasons.

- Of course we do this with a hope of reaching a larger customer group nationally, says Sandtrø, who not surprisingly says that the target group is primarily young customers, preferably younger men.

The entrepreneur, who has made good money selling electronics via the internet, is prepared for negative comments from nostalgics who do not like the development.

- There are of course many alternative names that would also be great, Sandtrø honestly admits.

He also says he expects many funny headlines from the country's newspaper editors.

- But we want to bring a smile and a good mood, assures Sandtrø, who has already noticed some negative posts on the country's countless debate forums.

- But people in the local community are positive.

Leader of the Blue Whales supporter club, Finn Roger Graneng, confirms that there have not been many negative comments on the stadium name.

- I was a little stunned the first time I heard it, but eventually we have all turned to the name, Graneng says.

- It has become so that it is the sponsorship funds and money that prevail in football, says the supporter manager, who sees the name of the new arena as part of a natural development.

- In an ideal world, I would probably have preferred Sandefjord Stadium, but when the development is like this, I am happy that local supporters show up, says the leader of 600 organized Sandefjord supporters.

- We chose the name solely on the basis of commercial interests, says general manager of Sandefjord Football, Øystein Ulsnæs.

He points out that it would have been impossible for the club to finance a new and modern stadium without the support of industry players.

Airline or football pitch?

- There are probably more Norwegians who know that Emirates is Arsenal's home ground than that it is an airline, says a committed Ingebrigt Steen Jensen, who believes the example illustrates the power of this type of communication.

English Arsenal and German Bayern Munich are the most well-known clubs in Europe with the stadium bearing sponsorship names. While the Germans built the stadium for the 2006 World Cup finals with the support of banking and insurance giant Allianz, in 2004 the London club sold the name of its new stadium for $ 1 billion to Emirates Airlines. Emirates stadium with seating for 2 spectators, opened in the fall of 60.000, and will carry the Dubai-based airline's name until 2006. At that time, the contract expired and the name could possibly be resold.

Responsible editor of Arsenal's Norwegian supporter club member magazine, Bård Heggset, says that the name received a mixed reception among the fans.

- Some think it was to sell part of their soul, says Heggset, who received several critical reactions from the Norwegian Arsenal fans

He tells of supporters who had rather seen that the new facility had been named after the area where the course is located, Ashburton Grove.

"Heia heia, now stand on, SCS!"

- It is not easy to come up with an answer on how to prevent the development with sponsorship from being slowed down, says TV2's Anita Rapp.

Kjetil Siem believes there are limits to what a football club can sell to sponsors without stepping over any limits.

- The name of the club is an example of that.

Austria is often cited as a scary example in football sponsorship. The fact that the Bundesliga in the country has received T-Mobile as the main sponsor is not unusual. But a look at the table in the country reveals a trend that clubs have in recent years actively incorporated sponsors' names into the club's name and logo. With that, the traditional clubs Austria Salzburg and Austria Vienna have become Red Bull Salzburg and FK Austria Magna respectively, the latter named after the car technology company Magna. The club Sturm Graz, which previously joined the Champions League, is today referred to as Puntigamer Sturm Graz, after a beer producer.

The club Altach has added the name to the betting company Cashpoint in front of its name today, while SV Ried is now named SV Josko Fenster Ried, after the main sponsor is a window manufacturer. To complete the confusion, last year's Bundesliga league FC Superfund has concluded its agreement with the finance company of the same name, and thus both name and logo had to be replaced. Accordingly, FC Superfund is called FK Austria Kärnten today, and thus you go the opposite way of development, by calling the team after the region the team plays in. However, the offense is found in the division below. The sports club with the beautiful name Schwanenstadt, is called "SCS" today, named after a betting company on the internet.

Ingebrigt Steen Jensen claims that supporters find themselves in a lot of sponsorship. He does not rule out that Stabæk can sell the name of his planned arena at Fornebu to a sponsor.

- It may be relevant, yes, confirms Steen Jensen, who believes the limit for sponsorship in football goes by two things.

- The limit goes by changing the name of the club, and changing the colors of the suits. If Stabæk ever decides to do it, I will end my involvement in the club on the contrary !, Steen Steen says gravely.

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