Naming sponsor likely for stadium

EVAN HARDING AND KIMBERLEY CRAYTON-BROWN
Last updated 05:00 10/07/2012

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It appears increasingly likely that a sponsor's name will be plastered over the new Stadium Southland – and in a fascinating twist, the Invercargill Licensing Trust has expressed an interest in being that naming sponsor.

If a naming rights sponsor was required and the ILT won the tender, it could be seen by some people as a blow to Invercargill businessman Louis Crimp.

Mr Crimp last year donated $2 million toward the Stadium Southland rebuild on the express condition that the ILT name be removed from the adjacent cycling velodrome.

Mr Crimp is a business rival of the ILT and has long been at loggerheads with the organisation; he surely can't have envisaged that seven months after pumping $2m into the new stadium the ILT would be looking at the possibility of having its name on it.

Stadium trust chairman Acton Smith said yesterday that his "instinct" was telling him that a naming sponsor would be required to help with funding of the approximately $31m stadium rebuild. However, no final decisions had yet been made by the trust.

The ILT had been so instrumental and involved in the stadium process he believed it would want to be involved in the naming rights in some form.

Invercargill Licensing Trust general manager Greg Mulvey confirmed this, saying if the stadium naming rights were tendered out then, "yes, the ILT might well be interested, but no decisions have been made." The ILT, along with other organisations, had registered an interest in being the naming rights sponsor if tenders were called for.

The ILT and ILT Foundation had been the major funders of the stadium from its inception in 1996 and would probably continue to be, Mr Mulvey said.

Mr Smith said Mr Crimp's deal to give the $2m towards the stadium rebuild was specific.

"It didn't preclude naming rights for the stadium, the (ILT) name had to come off the velodrome."

Mr Crimp said he didn't have a problem with the ILT securing naming rights to the new stadium.

"They could call it the Greg Mulvey Stadium if they liked," he said.

If the ILT chose to put their own funds into naming the stadium that was fine; Mr Crimp said he only objected to the use of pokie machine money paying for the naming rights because pokie money could not be spent on advertising.

Mr Crimp would like to see the new facility named Players Stadium, the same name as the entertainment centre he owns in Invercargill, which he thought was a fitting name for a facility used by sportspeople.

evan.harding@stl.co.nz

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