Real Madrid CF Will Not Seek Naming Rights For Estadio Bernabéu

Club will not seek naming rights partner for the revitalization of the Bernabéu Stadium; Has “great opportunities” in business without changing the name of the stadium.

Miami, Fla. (Thursday, July 25, 2019) – Kenneth Russo

What’s in a name? In the case of a famous one, a reason not to alter it.

One of the world’s most iconic football stadiums will not be adopting a corporate name. This news came from Real Madrid Club de Fútbol’s Global Head of Partnerships, David Hopkinson.

As reported in Spanish publication ReasonWby.Es, Hopkinson had been interviewed and asked about this ahead of the World Football Summit 2019. It was believed that Real Madrid would seek a stadium naming rights partner. He commented, “Anything is possible, but to put a corporate name on the stadium probably would be incorrect. There are places around the world that are iconic and must be respected.” (“Hay lugares en todo el mundo que son icónicos y deben respetarse”) He also added that Real Madrid enjoys an extraordinary assortment of income-generating opportunities that do not involve adopting a corporate name for the home of Los Blancos.

“Hay lugares en todo el mundo que son icónicos y deben respetarse”

While the stadium’s name is not changing, many aspects of the stadium will be. The club is planning a complete transformation of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, which is expected to take until 2023 to finish.

Madrid’s ambitious plans for a “digital stadium of the future,” were made possible after securing loans totalling €575 million (£497 million/$641 million USD) in April, 2018 from two US-based financial institutions: Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan. They will start repaying the loans in 2023 at a fixed 2.5 percent interest rate through 2049. The club will service an annual debt of €29.5 million per year on the project throughout the period.

Hopkinson, a Canadian, (and graduate of McGill University) was hired in summer of 2018, after having worked with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), where he was the Chief Commercial Officer. MLSE is the parent company of Toronto Football Club (MLS), the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and Toronto Raptors (NBA). Explaining the overall business strategy of Real Madrid, Hopkinson said that Real Madrid believes the more it is able to internationalise its business, reputation, and fan base, in the process making the club a global enterprise, the more opportunities the club will have with sponsors around the world.

“Cuanto más podamos internacionalizar nuestro negocio, nuestra reputación, nuestra base de fans, para globalizar este negocio, más oportunidades tendremos con patrocinios en todo el mundo”, detalló.

La renovación incluirá un techo retráctil, nuevos servicios y experiencias diseñadas para los fanáticos, que aprovecharán las posibilidades de lo digital.

The renovation will include a retractable roof, new services and experiences designed for fans, taking advantage of the latest in digital stadium technology.

While a football club can expect millions of dollars to have a corporate name on its stadium, in the case of Real Madrid CF, Hopkinson believes the benefit of not changing outweighs the increased revenue. Reaching that conclusion was probably also made easier by the fact that Real Madrid was looking for a naming rights sponsor but actually had difficulty attracting one. Potential sponsors were cautious to invest given the status of the stadium as one of the most famous in the world. It was thought, and altogether realistic to believe, that people would still refer to the stadium as the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu no matter what corporation sponsored the venue.

Video: Real Madrid CF

ReasonWhy.es: El Real Madrid no busca un nombre comercial para el estadio Santiago Bernabéu

Sports Pro Media: Oct. 2018: Réal Madrid Struggle For Naming Rights Deal


Photo Gallery (credit: Real Madrid CF)

What is the RSTP, and how do training compensation and solidarity payments fit into it?

Miami, Fla. (Wednesday, April 24, 2019) – Kenneth Russo

The FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (the “RSTP”) establish rules concerning the status of players, their eligibility to participate in organised soccer, and their transfer between clubs belonging to different member associations across the globe. Two elements spelled out in the RSTP are for a club to be compensated for training and development costs if one of its players signs a contract in another country.

It all begins with the trading of a player (known in the fútbol world of course as a “transfer.”) So typically a club is interested in acquiring a player who is playing for another club (or a player who is under contract with a club desires to move to another club and that other club desires to hire that player.) The players are under contract, and most clubs have a transfer fee, either a hard number written into the contract (usually only for big names like Ronaldo or Messi – you may have heard of the term “release clause”) or (more commonly) the current club has the legal option to negotiate the amount of a transfer fee. Simple enough, eh? Now, if there are training or compensation fees, it gets a bit more complicated.

The essence of the training compensation rules is this: when a player registers as a professional for the first time in a country other than the one where he did his training, the club with which he registers is responsible for paying training compensation to every club that contributed to his training, starting from the season of his 12th birthday through the season of his 21st birthday. Moreover, training compensation is due on a player’s subsequent international transfer through the season of his 23rd birthday to his immediately prior professional club.

The original building of La Masia, FC Barcelona’s world renowned academy. In 2011, La Masia was moved to a new base in Barcelona’s purpose-built training complex, La Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, which is located in the suburban town of Sant Joan Despi. (Photo by YANN BERNAL, AFP/Getty Images)

The basic premise of solidarity payments is that it applies any time that a professional player is transferred (whether on a temporary loan or on a permanent transfer) from a club in one FIFA member association (i.e., a federation) to a club in another federation during the course of his contract, a fee not to exceed five percent of the transfer fee is to be withheld and paid by the club receiving the player proportionally to the club(s) involved in that player’s training during the years between his 12th and 23rd birthdays. Unlike training compensation, which is only paid for players who have not yet reached the end of their age-23 season, solidarity payments continue for the duration of a player’s professional career, any time the player is transferred between federations while under contract and a transfer fee is paid.

For a more in-depth look at these important FIFA regulations, please use the following link to my web page:

Training Compensation And Solidarity Payments

© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer