Real Madrid President Florentino Perez is expected to sign off on a 500 million-euro sponsorship deal that would rename the Spanish soccer team’s famed Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, according to reports. When finalized, the stadium-naming-rights deal will be one of the largest in the history of sports. United Arab Emirates’ International Petroleum Investment Company gained naming rights in a deal finalized in late 2014, the BBC reported. Perez purportedly agreed to the deal in order to fund a planned renovation of the stadium, where Real Madrid has played since 1947.
“I am killing myself to create the best stadium in the world,” Perez said in September, according to the BBC. “If you want to do it without debt, the only possibility is that we take a sponsor’s name which could give us the 400m or 500m euros the new stadium is worth.” The two sides have yet to finalize a new name for the Bernabeu, but “The Abu Dhabi Santiago Bernabeu” and “The Cepsa Santiago Bernabeu” have emerged as possibilities. Perez personally advocated for the continued inclusion of Bernabeu’s name to honor Real Madrid’s former coach and president, though the team president was caught on film admitting IPIC will have final say on the matter, according to the Guardian.
Renovations to Real Madrid’s stadium are expected to be completed in 2017 and will include increased seating capacity and a retractable roof. The club will become just the second Spanish soccer team to secure a stadium-naming-rights deal.
If the sponsorship deal is completed, Real Madrid’s stadium naming-rights deal would trump similar deals signed by American sports teams. The Dallas Cowboys agreed to terms with AT&T in 2013 to call their home field “AT&T Stadium." Exact terms on the deal were not made available. Estimates held the figure at between $400 million and $600 million over 20 to 30 years, but team owner Jerry Jones said the deal did not break a record.
The NFL’s New York Jets and New York Giants signed a 25-year, $400 million deal with MetLife Insurance for the rights to name MetLife Stadium. Citigroup agreed in 2009 to pay the New York Mets $400 million over 20 years for the rights to name Citi Field.