SSE Buys Wembley Naming Rights

Energy giant SSE has bought the naming rights for Wembley Arena in a 10-year deal with AEG.

Financial details were not disclosed but there is an industry rumor describing it as a seven-figure sum.

London’s Evening Standard suggested it was “as much as £15 million.”

However much the deal’s worth, the money will get spent on improving what will now be known as the SSE Arena.

The 13,000-capacity London flagship venue will be the second U.K. building to get major sponsorship from SSE, one of Britain’s “big six” energy firms.

It also has the naming rights to the new 13,000-capacity SSE Hydro in Glasgow, next to the old Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.

SSE recently won Best Entertainment and Event Sponsorship category at the U.K. Sponsorship Awards.

“Wembley is one of the world’s most iconic venues, steeped in history with some of the greatest artists having performed under its roof,” AEG Europe chief exec Tom Miserendino said. “This naming-rights partnership with SSE enables us to undertake the refurbishments to restore this renowned arena.

“SSE’s investment in Wembley will further strengthen its offer as a world-class entertainment venue and will continue to highly entertain audiences for many more years in the future.”

The intended refurbishment will bring the venue in line with the recent completion of the first phase of the neighboring Wembley Park development.

When the park opens later this month, it will include the London Designer Outlet, 20 new restaurants and coffee shops, a nine-screen cinema, and a four-star hotel.

AEG Global Partnerships executive vice-president Paul Samuels said consumers and artists now have higher expectations as they want the acoustics, food and other facilities to be “at the top of their game.”

Wembley Arena used to be London’s top venue but in recent years has been overtaken by The O2 in Greenwich, which is also run by AEG.

AEG took over Wembley from Live Nation a year ago. A Competition Commission investigation found that there were no grounds for claims that the Wembley deal would give AEG too much power in London.

Apart from the 02, the world’s most successful venue. it also has the summer concerts in Hyde Park, a share of the Hammersmith Apollo, and is currently competing with LN and Vinci, a major French venue operator to manage London’s Olympic Park.  A decision on the Olympic Park is expected in September.

SSE will offer customers a speedy access to concert tickets and other benefits.