Vodafone pulls out of stadium naming rights deal with West Ham United

West Ham are still seeking a naming rights deal to help it offset the annual £2.5 rent

Vodafone has confirmed that it has pulled out of its stadium naming rights agreement with West Ham United following months of talks around a possible £20m deal.

The telecoms giant was reportedly close to agreeing a six-year deal for the naming rights to the former London Olympic stadium, however it has now confirmed that it will not go ahead with the contract.

The news comes amid an investigation of West Ham United’s transfer business by HMRC which raided the Premier League club’s offices last month and seized documents.

According to reports in the Guardian, sources with knowledge of the deal insist that the breakdown in negotiations is not related to the investigation from tax authorities.

A naming rights deal is regarded as crucial in helping the club pay for the £2.5m annual rent for the stadium. Under the terms of West Ham United’s lease agreement with the London Legacy Development Corporation, the publicly funded joint venture that owns the stadium, the club is entitled to 40% of any naming rights deal over the value of £4m a year.

Vodafone’s departure represents the second breakdown for the club after talks with Indian conglomerate Mahindra collapsed last year over the value of the deal.

It also puts Vodafone’s return to sports sponsorships in the UK on hold. The brand has been noticeably absent form sports marketing after it ended its seven-year title sponsorship of the McLaren Formula One team in 2013. This followed on from an end to its sponsorship of the English cricket team in 2010 and its decision not to renew its shirt sponsorship with Manchester United in 2006.

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Tony Connelly

I cover media, marketing and sponsorship news within the sports industry. This includes breaking news as well as writing feature pieces with insights from experts in the sports marketing world.

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