It’s been revealed this week that the club are close to announcing a deal with a national company over the rights to Sincil Bank’s official name.
Whilst Sincil Bank will always be Sincil Bank, the naming of the stadium in official channels such as TV and media is something the club can viably sell. It’s not a new concept to us, in the past our ground has been called the 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium and the Gelder Group Stadium (or some derivative thereof). You might not have noticed of course, why would you? After all, you’re still going to call it Sincil Bank and so am I.
“It’s something we’ve been considering for a while now,” Clive told the Echo.
“We understand this is a sensitive issue for our fans. We understand the importance and the history of Sincil Bank for our supporters, but it is imperative, if we are to continue to progress as a club and continue the momentum we’ve had over the last few years, that we look for additional areas to raise revenue. The sponsorship of the stadium is one of those. It’s a long-term deal and over a period of time it would be significant.
“We’ve discussed this with the Supporter’s Board and they’ve given their backing to us to finding a sponsor. We’ve tried to look for the right sponsor, either a local company or a national company that has links to the city of Lincoln. We are in talks with such a company at the moment and we would hope that in the next month or two we are able to make an announcement.”
Now, I’m on the Supporter’s Board and I was one of the group who were asked to discuss the naming rights to the stadium. I’m sure, given that the minutes are out there, that I’m not breaking any confidentiality now, so I’m going to talk about what we were asked and what we suggested.
Basically, as a League One club, we’re not in the top tier of revenue earners. That’s perhaps obvious but now more than ever we need a good budget; we need to strengthen this squad and get them winning matches. If we’re to move forward, we need to explore revenue streams and although some will claim we’re selling our soul, the brutal reality is that we either explore and manipulate these revenue streams, or we content ourselves with trips to Macclesfield, Stevenage or worse.
That’s reality. It’s the same with people saying we’re too corporate; they’re the same people wanting to see improvements in the squad. You can’t have everything I’m afraid and selling stadium naming rights is one great way to bring in extra money. It makes me laugh to see people saying we’re too corporate, selling our soul, then claiming we’re in dire financial trouble and need to sort something out before January. What do they want? A money-tree that grows in about three months? Criticism is really easy, it happens every weekend, after every game, but solutions are far harder to come by.
I’m sure that the SB gets some stick, both tongue-in-cheek and serious, but the club do consult fans. They can’t consult everybody and given some of the knee-jerk reactions we see every week (even when we won the league) I would shudder if they did. That’s not me saying I’m better than anyone else, I’m sure the rest of the SB feel the same, but the club have made attempts to connect with a cross-section of supporters on key issues. This was one of them.
I was 100% behind selling the stadium naming rights. We discussed the fact we still have a stand without a sponsor, but the unanimous opinion there, from club and fans, was the Stacey West remains as the Stacey West; we sell the naming rights to the manager and players before we sell that. When it comes to the ground, it makes obvious sense. Get the stadium name sold, bring in the money and let the papers call the ground whatever they want. No disrespect to whoever is in the frame to take the name on, but it’s Sincil Bank and nobody will convince me to call it anything else on these pages.
Selling our soul? No, not at all. We’re selling what we can to survive, we’re making ends meet and trying to give the manager the backing he needs to move the club forward. If it means that Quest TV call us the Argos Stadium or whatever it might be, I really don’t care. The same goes for the shirt sponsorship; people who lashed out at our sponsor in the summer need to understand the club is a business; to me and you it is much more but at its base level it is a business and sometimes, businesses need to make sales.
I’m 100%, unashamedly behind selling the stadium naming rights and I really don’t care what else they rename or rebrand for a few more quid, as long as it isn’t (and it never will be, rest assured) the Stacey West stand.
As a homage to the grand old ground, I’ve included a gallery of pictures over the next three pages – including a couple of unique ones I found tucked in a programme yesterday (the floodlights being dismantled really is a great find).
If one of the featured images is yours and I haven’t credited you my apologies. I’ve collected these from social media, programmes and all manner of places. Please, do contact me if you’d like one removing or crediting.