European sports leagues are usually outside this site’s purview, but sometimes we just have to take notice: For example, when the Newcastle United football team (that’s soccer to you North American readers) announces that it’s signed a naming rights deal to rename its 117-year-old St. James’ Park to “sportsdirect.com@St James’ Park Stadium” for the remainder of the season. The cost to the online sportswear merchant: Absolutely nothing, as the new name is being used to “showcase” the park’s naming rights for a more long-term sale next summer. And did we mention that Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is also owner of Sports Direct?
So far British fans and the media have mostly reacted by pointing and laughing, with Telegraph columnist Jim White writing that compared to this, “FC Dallas‘s Pizza Hut Park is a beacon of understatement.” Okay, pointing, laughing, and trying to form a fan cooperative to buy out out Ashley and turn the team into a community-owned club like in Madrid and Barcelona. Because we all know those Europeans are a bunch of socialists.