Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct gives up naming rights to Rangers Ibrox Stadium and loans club an extra £1m

Lynsey Barber
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Mike Ashley loans Rangers £1m and gives up stadium naming rights (Source: Getty)

Mike Ashley has given up his rights to rename Rangers football club’s Ibrox stadium and loaned the struggling club an additional £1m.

The Sports Direct owner, who also owns a stake in the Scottish club, bought the naming rights two years ago for just £1, but the deal was only revealed in September.

The miniscule figure, agreed as part of a commercial deal by former Rangers boss Charles Green, caused outrage among Rangers fans, with the head of one fan group saying “you hope your club goes and achieves proper value for those naming rights” and that £1 was “not right”.

The club said the new agreement consolidated marketing arrangements with Sports Direct and “results in a more normalised retail joint venture marketing arrangement in which Sports Direct will continue to have certain advertising rights.”

Ranger executive chairman David Somers said: "This agreement has been concluded to demonstrate the importance both parties place on our relationship. The Rangers board welcomes this visible demonstration of the Sports Direct support and long term commitment to Rangers."

Ashley has also loaned the financially troubled club an additional £1m, although it warned further credit would be needed by the end of the year. Ashley's Mash holdings loaned the club £2m, interest free, over six months at the end of October, secured against Edmiston House and Albion car park.

In a statement, the club said: “During the Autumn, the club has suffered from lower than expected match attendance which has exacerbated the financial condition of the business. The directors have begun a cost-cutting exercise, but further working capital in addition to the facility will be needed before the end of the year.”

The club also received £1m credit from hedge fund Laxey Partners in February and £500,000 from club director Sandy Easdale, both secured against the properties.

Naming rights for football stadiums run into the millions of pounds for top-flight football clubs. Airline Emirates secured naming rights to Arsenal’s stadium for 15 years as part of a sponsorship deal thought to be worth up to £100m

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