Old Trafford name worth a small fortune

Cape Town - Manchester United could earn themselves an estimated £26 million per season should they sell the naming rights to Old Trafford, a new study has found, more than the £19 million a year Manchester City earn from Etihad's sponsorship of their stadium.

Trevor Birch, head of UK sports at Duff & Phelps and former chief executive for Chelsea and Everton, believes Premier League clubs could bring in plenty of extra cash from their stadiums.

"It's an emotive topic, particularly in this country, but it's an area that is definitely under-utilised as a revenue stream," Birch said.

Other Premier League sides have opted for the name change, such as Bournemouth, whose stadium was renamed from Dean Court to the Vitality Stadium.

Other examples include Brighton & Hove Albion (American Express Community Stadium), Stoke City (bet365 Stadium), Huddersfield Town (John Smith's Stadium), Leicester City (King Power Stadium), and Swansea City (Liberty Stadium).

Newcastle United made an ill-fated attempt at rebranding their stadium in 2011 when they changed the name from St. James’ Park to the Sports Direct Arena, much to the disgust of fans, until their current sponsor, Wonga.com, bought the naming rights but opted to retain the original title.

For a stadium like Old Trafford, the name may already be too strongly associated with the structure to be rebranded, making it less attractive to investors than a new ground, such as Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, which replaced Highbury in 2006.