In a excellent interview in today's Journal, Sunderland Chief Executive Margret Byrne has said that the club are open to negotiating the naming rights of the Stadium Of Light.
Whether or not the club will or won't do this seems to come up quite often, but nothing has come to fruition as yet. Byrne has now gone on record of saying that some offers have been made, but it's all about getting the right one;
I think you have be open-minded. I think you have to keep all the options open.
But, at the same time, you're not just going to put a name on the stadium that doesn't fit or it's not the right name.
It's slightly different here because it's a new stadium. It would be different if it was Roker Park. It would be a bit more emotive. But we need to be more open-minded; at the back of your head you think the reason this money is coming in is for player purchases.
There's been lots of interest, but nothing that has yet made Ellis as an owner or the board think ‘This is worth taking forward'. There's always offers.
Everything that we stand for and everything that we're about, the brand would have to fit in to that.
It's not just about a cheque, if it was we could have sold it four times over.
One name which might not be on the table though is our current shirt sponsors, Invest In Africa. Back in the summer we spoke with two of the leading people behind the initiative and they told us that it's unlikely they'll be looking to sponsor the Stadium;
It's not a discussion we've had and it's not a discussion we plan on having. This is about brand awareness and we can achieve that by being on the shirt and remaining on the shirt, and I don't think the stadium naming rights give us anything like the profile, the awareness and the eyeballs on it that shirt sponsorship does. I'd be very surprised if we ever went down this road.
If it was a tie in deal with Invest In Africa, I could get on board with that. Of course it's incredibly unlikely given the words above there from director William Pollen, but even if it was something similar then that would work for me.
I can't honestly say I've ever been too enamored with the "Stadium Of Light" despite the longevity of the name. In the 16-years since the stadium opened the name has always just been "there" without any real connection to the fans despite the well-meaning push to do so from the club.
There might however be a faction who say that tradition will only come with sticking with the name, we'd be very interested in hearing from those people and anyone else in our poll below...