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The O2 will continue to be The O2 for at least another decade

By | Published on Thursday 23 February 2017

The O2

Naming rights are daft, aren’t they? Of all the many forms of sponsorship, they’re up there with the daftest.

I mean, the idea that you can take a venue, slap a brand’s name on it and then everyone will love and respect that brand is just silly. Especially as no one, beyond maybe three people at the sponsor’s head office, ever uses the venue’s new official name that’s had so much money thrown at it. Because why bother starting to call a venue the Brand X Theatre, when that name will just be swapped for another sponsor brand in a few years anyway?

No one has ever called the Brixton Academy the O2 Academy, Brixton. Nor did they call it the Carling Academy before that. And no one calls the Hammersmith Apollo the Eventim Apollo. Or the HMV Hammersmith Apollo. Or the Carling Apollo. Or the Labatt’s Apollo. And no one will ever call an iconic venue like the Wembley Arena its claimed new name of The SSE Arena, Wembley. You’re all wasting you’re money, brands. Just throwing it right down the toilet.

Still, congratulations to O2, which has just signed a deal with live firm AEG to extend its naming rights of The O2 in Greenwich.

To be fair, The O2 does get called The O2 by pretty much everyone. We were all so keen to forget about the Millennium Dome that we just went with it when phone firm O2 first bought the rights to name the complex back in 2005. And they got us all to call the big bit in the middle the O2 Arena too. Though that was a brand new venue, so people had no other name to fall back on. It wasn’t until a sponsorship conflict at the 2012 London Olympics that someone thought up calling it the North Greenwich Arena.

So maybe this one naming rights deal actually worked. Though in music we’re all exposed to the O2 brand a lot. I don’t know about you, but the only time I’ve been an O2 customer was when it was the only company selling iPhones in the UK, and I dumped that contract at the earliest possible opportunity. This despite me definitely qualifying as “a music fan”.

Anyway, this year marks the tenth anniversary of the opening of the O2 Dome, and that is being marked by ensuring that everything stays the same for another decade. Which is another good thing, I guess. There’s quite enough change going on already, without The O2 suddenly changing its name to The Pampers Pavilion, or whatever.

As the extended deal was announced this morning, O2 CEO Mark Evans commented: “We are incredibly proud of our highly successful partnership with AEG that has made The O2 into the internationally renowned music and entertainment venue it is today. Over the past ten years our work together has set an industry gold standard and it will continue to do so for the next ten years”.

AEG Europe EVP Paul Samuels added: “From signing the deal back in 2005, O2 have become a significant and transformative force in the music business and our partnership has enabled countless benefits and experiences for their customers and all music, sports and entertainment fans. We’re THRILLED they’re committing to The O2 once again and know it will enable the venue to become even better for fans and the artists that play here. The O2 would not be the success it is without the support and commitment of our partners”.

The announcement of the new deal was pre-empted last night by the Britannia Music Club Awards, which were held in the venue for the seventh year running. And tonight I’m sure Jack Whitehall will be doing lots of deferential jokes about the building’s sponsor when he performs in the North Greenwich Arena.



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