Blues to consider naming rights
Chelsea appear to have shelved any plans to move from Stamford Bridge after revealing the club would consider naming rights for the stadium. The name Stamford Bridge would be retained in any deal and it is understood Chelsea are looking for a blue-chip partner for a long-term contract between seven and 10 years. New Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay revealed the club would consider naming rights in an exclusive interview with Chelsea TV. "Retaining the heritage of the stadium is paramount to considering such a move but we think that is achievable, and on that basis we would enter into discussions over naming rights with the right partner for Chelsea," said Gourlay. "We understand that this is a sensitive issue for our fans and that is why we would keep the name Stamford Bridge in any deal. "What we are not prepared to happen, and I am sure our fans will appreciate this, is to allow our rival clubs in England and Europe to gain a competitive advantage over us in terms of the revenue they can generate through either expanding the capacity of their existing stadia or moving to a new stadium, and then invest that upside in their team or the club. "Those possibilities are not open to Chelsea for the foreseeable future because of the restrictions in expanding our stadium and the issues around finding a new site, so that means we have to be creative and look at our sponsorship architecture and see if we can create new value and new opportunities that keeps us competitive. "Our stadium does very well at the moment in competing with the bigger, and in some cases newer, stadia of our rivals, but they have more possibilities in the long run than we do. "We cannot sell any more tickets to Chelsea fans as we sell out virtually every match within our limited capacity. "The match-day experience at Stamford Bridge and the relationship with our fans has improved greatly through initiatives such as our flexible ticketing policy for all cup matches, the freezing of non-hospitality ticket prices for the last four seasons for Premier League matches and subsidised or free travel to a significant number of away games. "But we need to keep evolving and move the business forward to support the football side and the club generally. This is a potentially realistic way of doing that."
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