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Elland Road Red Bull Stadium? Leeds in big money talks with drinks giant

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  • by Paul Robinson
 

LEEDS United are in talks over a lucrative link-up with energy drink giant Red Bull that could lead to the renaming of the club’s Elland Road ground.

It is understood top-level discussions have started between the club and the company about a possible shirt sponsorship agreement.

No-one involved in those discussions is prepared to go on record as to how far reaching any deal could be.

But today’s revelation is likely to prompt speculation that a stadium naming rights deal could also be under consideration.

Red Bull is already involved with a string of football clubs around the world – the New York Red Bulls and Austria’s FC Red Bull Salzburg play in grounds named after the company.

Asked whether the talks could involve a stadium naming rights deal, highly-respected brands expert Jonathan Gabay said: “It’s not out of the question.

“They would have to be cautious, because the initial reaction of football fans is to resist that kind of move. At the same time, however, I think fans are coming round to the idea that this is the way the sport is going.”

Mr Gabay added: “As a brand, Red Bull is all about the idea of excitement. They would want to be involved with a club which matches that image.”

United have made no public comment but managing director David Haigh is known to have well-placed contacts at Red Bull.

A source close to the talks said: “Red Bull are a huge brand name and a partnership with Leeds would obviously be a really exciting coup.”

Red Bull’s turnover in 2012 was close to five billion euros. The firm’s sporting interests away from football include a Formula 1 motor racing team.

Talk of a new name for Elland Road will stir memories of United’s ground move plans during the chairmanship of Peter Ridsdale.

Leeds chose a site off the A1(M) near Stourton for a new stadium and were in negotiations with a number of major international firms over naming rights before the proposal was scuppered by the club’s meltdown on and off the pitch.

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