March 26th, 2008

LG Electronics to Sign Deal to Rename the NEC Arena

By Robert Lester
Marketing Week (UK)

LG Electronics is poised to announce a naming rights sponsorship deal with the NEC Arena in Birmingham.

The move follows the success of O2’s £6m-a-year naming rights deal with the former Millennium Dome, which has been transformed into one of the world’s most popular entertainment venues.

The 12,300-seat NEC Arena is likely to be renamed as the LG NEC or LG Arena as part of the deal, which is thought to be worth several million pounds a year. It is the latest in a series of big-money marketing initiatives by LG aimed at building its brand in the UK.

The Korean electronics giant pays £3m a year to sponsor Fulham Football Club (MW May 17, 2007). It had been in talks with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur before signing with Fulham. LG is also the official mobile phone supplier to Arsenal.

The company also signed footballer Wayne Rooney’s fiancée Coleen McLoughlin to promote its Chocolate phone, and teamed up with Prada to launch a designer handset.

LG Mobile UK head of marketing Jeremy Newing denies a deal with the NEC has been signed, but says LG is “continually evaluating opportunities to further build the brand in the UK.”

O2 signed the naming rights deal with the Dome in 2005. The venue reopened in June last year and had sold 1.2 million tickets by the end of 2007. That put it almost level with the Manchester Evening News Arena and Madison Square Garden, despite The O2, as it is known, only being open for the last six months of the year.

Ticket sales for the 20,000-seat arena were helped by Prince’s 21-night residency and the first Led Zeppelin concert for 19 years.

The NEC Arena, which opened in 1980, has staged concerts by artists such as Queen, U2 and Pavarotti.

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