Naming rights sponsorship: The renamings of football stadiums from an applied linguistics perspective
In FIFA men’s football, two discourses about league clubs may clash: the practices of the fans and the practice of big business which takes precedence in decision making within the clubs. In this seminar, researchers Cornelia Gerhardt and Ben Clarke will consider corporate renamings from the German Bundesliga and the English Premier League.
In FIFA men’s football, two discourses about league clubs may clash: the practices of the fans often represent a celebration of local identification with their city or region with the stadiums usually constituting the homestead of a tradition. On the other hand, big business takes precedence in decision making within the clubs (and associations and leagues), decisions about fixtures, media coverage, kick-off times, kits, player transfers, but also the naming of leagues, clubs and stadiums.
Here, the researchers consider the (re-)naming of stadium at the intersection of these competing discourses.
bet365 Stadium and Ruhrstadion
Stadiums have traditionally been named after local sites (e.g. Goodison Park (Everton FC) or regions (Ruhrstadion (VfL Bochum)). Such toponyms are increasingly being replaced by company or product names (e.g. bet365 Stadium (Stoke City)).
Stadiums as sites for identity constructions
Starting from an onomastic enquiry (origin and history of the names), they will analyse different discourses surrounding renamings. Topics include stadiums as sites for identity construction, commemoration, as public memory, as homestead and symbol of a tradition, as enduring, detached from time.
Based on fan sites as well as media coverage, they will discuss from an applied linguistics perspective why some renamings were hotly disputed while others represented viable options for all parties involved.