Stewart Donald comments on reports betting firm could get naming rights to Sunderland's Stadium of Light

Stewart Donald has played down reports that a betting firm could take the naming rights at the Stadium of Light - but admits Sunderland are in talks with other companies over sponsoring the ground.

Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 7:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 7:39 pm
Stewart Donald.

The Sun revealed that preliminary talks had taken place over the renaming of the Wearsiders' home, which has not been sponsored since its opening in 1997.

They claim that discussions have already taken place with a betting firm and energy company after promotional literature was circulated to businesses highlighting the appeal of sponsoring the stadium.

But in a tweet posted today, Sunderland co-owner Donald admitted that while talks are ongoing he does not believe that any betting firms are among those in discussions.

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"We have been looking into naming rights for a while yes," he posted.

"I think I have mentioned this before so not new news as such. However I don’t believe any betting firms are in the picture at all."

Key to the club's sales pitch has been the popularity of Netflix documentary 'Sunderland 'Til I Die', which has seen the Black Cats attract a new, global audience.

Such exposure - with the streaming service currently having 120million paying subscribers - has been heavily highlighted by Sunderland, while opportunities to gain exposure from fixed stadium branding, matchday perimeter advertising and branded match tickets and season cards have reportedly also been offered to interested parties.

And a club spokesperson has confirmed that discussions are ongoing, but that they remain confidential at this moment in time.

They said: "Talks are ongoing, but they are of a commercially sensitive nature, and as such, they will remain private until such time that it is appropriate to release further information."

Donald has previously stated that he would be open to the possibility of renaming the Stadium of Light, while hinting that supporters would be consulted on any potential name change.

“I think the fans should have a say on whether they’re comfortable with it," he said, speaking to the Roker Rapport podcast last year.

“The vibe I get is that they aren’t particularly attached to the name of the stadium.

“It’s not a sacred thing like some of the other grounds.

“I think it’s something that we could do without upsetting the fans, so from that perspective, there is potential for us to do it.”