Newcastle United FC announced today that St James’ Park will change its name into Sports Direct Arena as per direct. The name change is part of a decision to licence the full naming rights of the stadium as part of a sponsorship deal.

The name change to Sports Direct Arena, Sports Direct being the company of club owner Mike Ashley, is a temporary one, aimed at showcasing the marketing value of the stadium to interested parties. The naming rights could be part of a deal including shirt sponsorship as Newcastle’s current deal with Northern Rock is set to expire in 2012. Aim is to “maximise all revenue streams for the benefit of the Club.”

The announcement is likely to raise resistance with the fans of the club, who may see the deal as selling out the tradition of the club for the financial benefit of club owner Mike Ashley.