The Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Leeds Rhinos have announced that Emerald Group has acquired the naming rights to Headingley Stadium, in addition to a range of commercial, community and charitable benefits.
The significant agreement, due to commence on November 1, 2017, will grant the Bingley-based publishing group a naming rights partnership with the two sporting Clubs. This will see the unique complex, home to rugby league side Leeds Rhinos, rugby union side Yorkshire Carnegie and The Yorkshire County Cricket Club, renamed as the Emerald Headingley Stadium. The stadia will also be named independently as Emerald Headingley Cricket Ground and Emerald Headingley Rugby Stadium.
Emerald Group, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, has a vision of ‘bringing research to life’. The group manages a portfolio of nearly 300 journals, 2,500 books, 1,500 case studies and learning resources for leaders and managers in practice.
For Emerald, who work in close collaboration with many academic and corporate organisations worldwide, this agreement supports their business ambitions whilst also supporting the local community. The deal also includes the naming of the new North-South stand – as the Emerald Stand - upon completion of its redevelopment in 2019 and the 450-seater banqueting suite will be called the Emerald Suite.
The Club’s Chief Executive Mark Arthur said: “We are very excited to enter into partnership with Emerald Group, who have just celebrated 50 years since being founded by Dr Howard and his colleagues from Bradford University in 1967.
“This is a unique joint venture between the Club, the Rhinos and Emerald and underpins the development of the North-South stand, which will now be called The Emerald Stand.”
The ground-breaking agreement includes client entertaining through access to matchday hospitality and ticketing, significant branding across the Headingley site and in corporate suites, as well as additional marketing rights and opportunities for charities to engage with cricket and rugby for the benefit of the local community.
Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington said: “We are delighted to have worked alongside our partners at Yorkshire CCC to complete this new arrangement with the Emerald Group. This sponsorship is another vital step in our vision to transform our home once again into an iconic sporting venue with the exciting redevelopment plans set to begin in late summer.
“We are proud to have been associated with the Emerald Group for many years through their support of our own Leeds Rhinos Foundation, which uses the power of sport to change lives and this new partnership strengthens the bond between the two organisations. Headingley is unique in world sport and this new partnership is, in itself, also unique.”
The agreement is a significant investment in the stadium ahead of the start of major redevelopment plans. Leeds Rhinos have also revealed that demolition will now begin on the iconic South Stand at the end of August this year followed by the Main Stand at the end of the end of the current Super League season.
The Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Leeds Rugby play a local and international role in education, health, well-being, heritage, participation, and inclusion. This mission is aligned to the Emerald Group’s goal of disseminating research to help manage a more sustainable world. Emerald is one of the few remaining independent academic publishers, and has always run its global operations from its Yorkshire headquarters.
The Emerald Group’s charitable arm, The Emerald Foundation, also offers support to a range of cultural and sporting causes including Opera North, Northern Ballet and the Leeds Rugby Foundation. This latest agreement demonstrates Emerald’s commitment to corporate social responsibility and investment in the local community.
Dr Keith Howard, Chairman of the Emerald Group, said: “In our 50th year, Emerald looks forward to an exciting future. As a business founded in Yorkshire, it’s important that we support our local community, so it’s fitting that we’re working with Headingley Stadium to continue to host world-class sport.”
David Cunningham, Partner at Clarion, the law firm which advised the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, said “We are delighted to have advised the club on this deal, and for all parties involved. Although it required some complex discussions – requiring and aligning the input of lawyers and commercial teams representing the Rugby Club and Emerald – it has been really satisfying to reach an agreement that will not only benefit all of the parties commercially, but will also have far reaching benefit for the local community.”
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