Privatization of space? What is the name of the “naming” of Little Stadium?

The famous Stadium in the Lille metropolis and the LOSC club have been looking for a new sponsor since 2018. It is now done. According to information from France Bleu Nord, the European metropolis Lille has entered into an agreement with the famous sports distribution brand Decathlon, on a commitment of the brand of six million euros over five years. But above all, it gave birth to a major transformation: the name of the arena. Exit Pierre-Mauroy Stadium, hello “Decathlon Arena”.

The company had a major advantage during the negotiations, as its head office is located in the small suburb of Villeneuve-d’Ascq, where the stadium is also located. A sufficient advantage to remove the name of the former prime minister of François Mitterrand’s tutelary figure and mayor of the northern metropolis for 28 years. It should still be listed under the name “Decathlon Arena”.


Imported from the United States, this marketing practice known as “naming” consists of attaching a sponsor to an event, project or in this case a place by giving it its name. A fashion that is now affecting the entire globe. In Los Angeles, the famous Staples Center has been renamed the Arena, in Spain, while the Catalan Camp Nou in Barcelona, ​​Spain has become the Spotify Camp Nou. And France is obviously not spared this wave: in Bordeaux, the Chaban-Delmas stadium has given way to Matmut Atlantique, the Vélodrome stadium in Marseille has become the Orange Vélodrome, while the Stade des Lumières in Lyon has mutated into the Groupama Stadium.

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Little is now overtaken by this phenomenon. So, of course, Pierre Mauroy, did not pass for a football fanatic, he was even against the construction of a large stadium. that naming had been considered from the start of stadium construction in 2008. It was in 2013 that Martine Aubry decided to christen it with her predecessor’s name, after delicate negotiations.

In France, more and more companies are associating their name with the name of a competition or sports venue. Communities or clubs that sign these contracts with private entities do so primarily for financial reasons. The main question? These companies’ financing of future infrastructures or the sustainability of certain events, activities or places. For companies, “naming” corresponds to communication goals in terms of fame, prestige and image thanks to the mention of the sponsor’s name.

Privatization of public space

But this marketing strategy has visible consequences for our environment, and some are protesting against the nibbling of public spaces by private companies. Gautier, a loyal LOSC supporter, explains that he will have problems with the new name of his stadium: “We will always call it ‘Pierre-Mauroy’ or ‘Grand Stade’, even though it remains a brand that conveys good values ​​and has been established here for a long time, he explains. That, of course, raises questions for the big clubs, with very well-known stadiums, I find that disappointing. Money, money, money, it’s not just that. »

The former PS deputy for Eure François Loncle, meanwhile, called in 2013 The cross by “ drive out the stadium suppliers “. “Basically, a place that belongs to everyone becomes the property of a single brandwrote the chosen one at the time. And the most surprising thing is that this comes with the approval of the local authorities, even the call. “If this phenomenon becomes widespread, it will soon be streets, squares, bridges, monuments, schools, waterways that will be sold at auction.” already warned the former elected representative. And to predict it: alone in Paris could rue des Maraîchers e.g. renamed rue Bonduelle, rue des Cendriers could be replaced by rue Philip-Morris, rue Couche by rue Pampers, quai de l’Horloge by quai Rollex. , rue Malus via rue AXA, rue des Canettes via rue Coca-Cola, rue des Chantiers via rue Bouygues. »

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If the deputy was playing the prophets at bad time at that time, his prediction has unfortunately come true in other countries. In the United States, in 2016, the Los Angeles Transportation Authority decided to approve sponsorship of parking lots, bus stations, trams, and subways. On the east coast of the United States, a station in New York has taken the name Atlantic Avenue – Barclays center, from the name of the British bank. This ubiquitous presence of brands in the urban landscape can sometimes arouse the anger of the population. By the year 2000, the residents of Houston, in the state of Texas, had thus protested against naming of the Astrodome sports complex by Reliant Energy, which partially boycotted the latter and chose a competitor to Reliant during the deregulation of the electricity market.

The spread of naming also raises the question of the ethical limits of this practice. Because in the near future, other categories of institutions may well be affected. Basically, why not alleviate the financial problems of hospitals or universities by resorting to this list? In Providence, in the US state of Rhode Island, there is already Hasbro Children’s Hospital, named after a famous American toy company. In Denton County in 2005, the small Texas town of Clark, which bore the name of its founder, was even renamed Dish after a commercial deal with the satellite television company of the same name. In return for this new name, the few hundred residents received TV services and a digital video recorder. These examples demonstrate the potential for endless market expansion when given the opportunity to intervene in public space. From there to replace the names of the places we hike?

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