Olympic venues will renamed after corporations with highest bid


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The Independent Online

Olympic bosses are planning to auction off naming rights for some of the stadiums that have been built to host the games in a deal that could be worth up to £10m a year.

It is believed major corporate sponsors of the games such as Coca-Cola and McDonalds have already been approached as potential sponsors once the Olympics comes to a close.

That could mean that the closing ceremony of the Paralympics on 9 September could be the last time an event is staged at the Olympic Stadium before it gets a corporate moniker.

The talks are being led by the the Olympic Park Legacy Company, which is charged with finding some sort of commercial future for the East London site. They are keen to find ways of creating extra revenue to help cover the £96m cost of converting the Olympic Stadium into a venue suitable for sports events or entertainment.

The future of the stadium was thrown into disarray after the OPLC pulled the plug on a bid by West Ham football club to take it over, following legal challenges by Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient that were eventually abandoned. The deadline for the bidding process is March 23 with a decision due by May.

Other buildings such as the aquatics centre and the velodrome could also have their naming rights sold off.

A variety of sporting bodies are now interested in taking over the Olympic Stadium. The National Football League, which intends to increase the number of American football games staged in Britain, has expressed interest alongside the England Cricket Board which wants to hold Twenty20 tournaments there. The London Wasps rugby club, which is also looking for a new home, is also thought to be interested.

Selling naming rights has become a hugely lucrative business for football teams and stadium owners.

However if the Olympic Stadium becomes a multi-use venue it could complicate the OPLC's effort to sell the naming rights. A company willing to pay millions of pounds to put its name on the stadium would want to know what sports will be played there and how many fans it may draw before signing any agreement.