Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

The names have been changed to protect the innocent

Posted in Business, Great Britain, Infrastructure by Chairman Pip on 16 October 2011

There are few things that really annoy me to the extent that I feel a busting need to write about them. However, one thing that really grinds my gears is naming stadia after blue chip sponsors. You would have thought that could never happen on public transport. Until I found out something today. Part of Metrolink’s expansion plan will see a line running through the Sportcity complex in Manchester, built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The plan for this line is intended to see two new Metrolink stations built within the Sportcity complex, which were originally to be named Sportcity-Stadium, which will serve the City of Manchester Stadium, and Sportcity-Velodrome, serving the Manchester Velodrome. I think you’ll agree that these would have been ideal names, as the area is known as Sportcity (that’s even written on roadsigns), while they will be at specific parts serving those two facilities. However, as time went on they received new names – Eastlands City Stadium and Velopark. OK, fair enough. But, now that Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the owner of Manchester City, has decided to make an investment in the local community surrounding the stadium (which has been renamed the “Etihad Stadium”), which will see 80 acres rebuilt to incorporate brand new training facilities, classrooms and accomodation, which will be called the “Etihad Campus”. So now, the stadium Metrolink station will be called Etihad Campus. But what happens if Etihad no longer is associated with Manchester City, and the name of the training centre is changed? Constantly renaming stadia because the sponsor changes is one thing. But part of the public transport infrastructure? In any case, will Etihad reimburse TfGM for the cost of construction of the station that will bear their name? Which is after all free advertising.

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  1. […] I wrote not long ago about the plan that the new Metrolink station intended to serve the City of Manchester Stadium was to be renamed as Etihad Campus (having been called Sportcity-Stadium and Eastlands City Stadium), following the decision of Manchester City’s owners to build the “Etihad Campus” facility around the stadium. I’ve also written elsewhere about the idea of naming rights of sports stadia, and how this leads to both ridiculous names and fans’ ire. You may well have heard in the past week the decision by the owner of Newcastle United to rename St James’ Park as the “Sports Direct Arena”, in lieu of finding a company to provide naming rights. To suggest this has caused a degree of ire in and around Newcastle is an understatement. So we must be glad to hear both the city council and Nexus have refused to spend money altering their signage to incorporate this new name that has met with almost universal derision in Newcastle. The football club is part of the beating heart of the city, and while the council values its relationship with the club, it has no plans to change any existing wayfinding signs which bear the name St James’ Park. As far as the fans and Newcastle City Council are concerned, the home of Newcastle United will always be known as St James’ Park. Councillor Henri Murison, Cabinet Member for Quality of Life It is perhaps fair to say that the local railway station can be synonymous with the stadium, so the fact that Nexus, the owner of Tyne & Wear Metro, have said that St James station will also not be renamed is doubly welcome. We are not renaming St James’ Metro station […]


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