Selhurst sponsors have Palace as outsiders for first game

Crystal Palace appear close to announcing a stadium naming deal for Selhurst Park with an Asian-based online bookmaker – one of the many betting firms who are offering the Eagles at odds on that they will be relegated straight back to the Championship at the end of the Premier League season which begins next weekend.

Sign of the times: how a Palace fan captured the news that Selhurst Park is being re-branded

Sign of the times: how a Palace fan captured the news that Selhurst Park is being re-branded

Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace’s home ground for the last 89 years, is already being re-branded as the “12Bet Stadium” ahead of the club’s eagerly awaited Premier League opening fixture against Tottenham in front of the television cameras on Sunday week, August 18.

For that game, 12Bet’s odd-setters have made Palace the big outsiders to win, at 5/1 in a field of just two – so that punters win £5 for every £1 staked if the home side manages to upset the odds and win against Spurs.

The Palace fans’ forums have been full of negative commentary on the money-making move, including pictures showing how preparation work for the re-branding has progressed.

Naming rights for stadiums can be very lucrative – in 2012, Arsenal announced a five-year extension to their deal with Emirates Airlines for the naming rights and shirt sponsorship deal, worth £30 million a year. Palace might count themselves fortunate if the 12Bet deal is worth even one-thirtieth of that amount, or lasts longer than a year.

Emirates have been associated with the Arsenal stadium since the club moved from its old Highbury home. Re-naming existing stadiums can prove to be much less valuable, or lasting.

The Oval, the home of Surrey cricket since 1845 and the venue for the first cricket Test match to be played in England as well as the first ever football international, is now on its fourth naming incarnation.

After periods plastered with the logos of Foster’s lager and Brit Insurance, the south London cricket ground will be referred to as “The Kia Oval” by television commentators – and almost no one else – when this summer’s fifth Ashes Test match is played there at the end of the month.

Surrey County Cricket Club receives the grand total of £700,000 a year from Kia as part of their five-year deal.

Football fans can be much more influential than the generally more polite cricket spectators. Such was the fans’ backlash when Newcastle United sought to re-name their St James’ Park ground in 2011, the idea was dropped like a cold turd by owner Mike Ashley soon after.

Palace’s calculation as they head into the big time is that they probably have to take on all reasonable offers – though having the stadium named after a little-known Asian bookmakers may carry some reputation risks, as well as causing disenchantment among their fans.

Palace are still looking to recruit a number of players before they kick-off the season.

Manager Ian Holloway has brought in five players so far, and it was being reported this morning that Arsenal’s Marouane Chamakh is close to completing his switch to south London, probably on a free transfer.

The 12Bet naming rights may well pay for the Moroccan’s wages for the next nine months. But don’t bet the house on it.

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