Bank wins stadium naming rights battle
Johannesburg – First National Bank's rights to the naming of Johannesburg's biggest soccer stadium were confirmed in court this week, chief marketing officer Bernice Samuels said on Friday.
“For the time being, this court order resolves the on-going dispute in terms of the conduct of a third party and confirms the stadium name as 'FNB Stadium',” Samuels said in a statement.
“The bank is pleased with the successful outcome.”
An interim court order obtained this week required Stadium Management SA to refer to the venue and/or the stadium whether direct or indirectly, only as the “FNB Stadium”.
No reference should be made to the Soccer City Complex or Soccer City or any other name or venue.
The court order further stipulated that, in contracts concluded with third parties for the use of the stadium and venue, such third parties be required to refer to the stadium as “FNB Stadium”.
In 2004, full naming rights were granted to the then FirstRand Bank Limited for a period of 10 years, from July of that year.
During the 2010 Fifa World Cup, in compliance with Fifa's requirements, FNB agreed to the name andr logo of the stadium being changed for a period starting three months before the opening match of the competition.
The waiver ended a week after the last match of the tournament, which was held from June 11 to July 11, 2010.
At the conclusion of the soccer showpiece, the High Court in Johannesburg ruled in favour of the bank, preventing the sale of its naming rights by a third party. It confirmed the bank's right to name the stadium “FNB Stadium”.
The judgment was taken on appeal and the Supreme Court of Appeal found in favour of the bank.
The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, to be hosted in South Africa from January 19 to February 10, is the next big event to take place at the stadium in Nasrec, south west of Johannesburg.
With its 94,000 capacity, the stadium will host the opening games and the final of the tournament. – Sapa