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Gordon Young
Editor-in-chief at The Drum

O2 agrees £125m deal to extend naming rights of London entertainment venue

O2 London

Mobile operator O2 has renewed its naming rights agreement with the London O2 Venue until 2027 in a deal reportedly worth around £125m.

The 10-year extension will take the Telefonica-owned mobile operator’s title sponsorship of the former Millennium Dome to at least 20 years.

As part of the agreement O2 will pay between £10m and £15m each year to Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) – the US company that purchased the site in 2005.

Negotiations around O2’s events loyalty programme were a key part of the agreement with the new deal doubling the number of priority tickets made available to O2 customers 48 hours before general release.

Nina Bibby, chief marketing officer at O2 UK, said: “Our loyalty programme is about unforgettable live experiences and memories. At the heart of that is our sponsorship assets and the O2.”

The cost of the new deal is significantly more than the £6m a year that O2 paid during the last 10-year contract, however Bibby said that this is unlikely to affect the brand’s wider sponsorship portfolio which includes England Rugby and a host of music venues throughout the UK.

“This is absolutely a continuation of our sponsorship strategy,” she said. “They work very well together. We get huge returns in terms of media value.”

Paul Samuels, executive vice-president of AEG Europe, confirmed that other brands had enquired about taking over the naming rights for the arena, however the contract was not put to market.

Samuels said: “When it came to renewal time we got lots of calls. We never even considered them and having to go out and sell this. We wanted to stay with the great partnership we already have.

“We are delighted O2 is committed to another 10 years. In this industry 10-year deals don’t come up very often. It shows the major commitment between both companies.”

In October last year O2 extended its longstanding partnership with Rugby Football Union (RFU) and said it would shift its focus to creating more integrated, connected and personalised experiences across mobile devices.

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