No more Ellis Park

Ellis Park has sold its naming rights to Coca-Cola for R42.5 million in a four-and-a-half year deal.

President of the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) Jannie Ferreira said the exact name-change has not yet been confirmed by Coke, but it will no longer be called Ellis Park.

“I would have loved for it to be called Ellis Park in future, but we had to be pragmatic about the decision,” Ferreira told keo.co.za. “The sponsors have put a lot of money on the table and they want to market their brand, which is understandable.”

Ferreira said running a massive stadium such as Ellis Park wasn’t cost-effective, and this deal and the 2010 World Cup will buffer the GLRU’s coffers.

“Having a big stadium is a bit of an ego-trip – the maintenance is tremendous. Honestly, if it wasn’t for 2010 we would be in trouble in terms of running that maintenance. We need additional income, and selling naming-rights are a part of that,” said Ferreira.

“It will now become a multi-purpose stadium, with rugby, soccer and other events being held there. Coke are big into their concerts and this will create other opportunities for the stadium, so it will be used more than only 14 or 15 Saturdays a year,” he said.

With the GLRU appearing to become more financially stable, the acquisition of a few big names to the team would be money well-spent.

By Grant Ball