|ADAMS PARK SPONSOR SHOCK
(Friday 20th June 2003 - revised Tuesday 24th June 2003)
Wanderers supporters have been stunned with the news that the Adams Park name is to be dropped from the title of the ground as part of a new sponsorship agreement. The Bucks Free Press is claiming that the deal would be worth between £150,000 and £300,000 over a three year period but this has yet to confirmed by the Club as the deal had still to be finalised at the time of this article. The Bucks Free Press is also claiming that the decision to ditch the Adams Park name has caused a "boardroom split" but again there has been no official response from the Club.
Original claims by Club officials said the Adams Park name would be included in any such deal but Wanderers Financial Director Rod Tomlin said "There is no half-way house. If you don't drop Adams Park from the name, the benefit to the sponsor is diluted because people will continue to call it Adams Park" Earlier suggestions that current Stadium Sponsors Barter Card were to take over the new sponsorship agreement have been ruled out, with Loudwater based software company Causeway Technologies set to be officially announced and the ground renamed to Causeway Stadium.
The Club first started looking for a sponsor for the naming rights to the stadium back in January 2003 following the shock news of shirt sponsors Integrity Software pulling out after just 12 months of their three year deal. The Club will announce new shirt sponsors on Wednesday 25th June but while shirt sponsorship seems to be the accepted norm in football today, stadium naming rights are usually tied in with multi-million pound deals involving building new stadiums. There are few examples of original ground names being dropped.
Wanderers current ground may only be 13 years old but it is proudly named after Frank Adams, the benefactor who donated Loakes Park to the Club in 1947 and by doing so ensured the future of the Club and eventually set the way for a move to Sands in August 1990. Tomlin is aware the deal will cause friction with some supporters, commenting "At the end of the day we know it will probably upset a number of people. Some will look at it as though we've sold our heritage down the river but I don't. I hope that in the present climate people will accept it was right in the interest of the financial stability of this club" Tomlin added "We have seen teams with a very long heritage, like Notts County, in administration. Heritage at the end of the day counts for very little when you are looking at the financial dymanics of running a football club today"
However Tomlin is hoping that other supporters will back the move, commenting "I think most people including the Adams family would accept that it is part of the future well being of the club" Tomlin concluded his remarks to the press with a comment that could be construed as emotional blackmail, suggesting "If it helps ensure football and rugby are played here for many more years to come, I hope that people will see it makes sense" However, the financial benefits from any deal have to be offset against the value of providing items including corporate hospitality, car parking, advertising, company logos on letter heads and the dilution of any existing sponsorship agreement with the same company. In cash terms the deal could be worth as little as £30,000 extra per season to the Wanderers - or the equivalent of gate receipts from just one League game.
Whether Wanderers supporters will get to hear of the precise financial workings of the deal remains to be seen. Supporters would certainly like to hear exactly how much financial benefit it will mean to Wycombe Wanderers as this would then allow them to fairly judge whether the compromise of selling another part of the heritage of the Club can be justified.
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