BT 2012 Olympics sponsorship forces O2 Arena to rebrand

The O2 Arena, one of London's most successful and iconic venues, is to be rebranded for the London 2012 Olympics because of a sponsorship conflict of interest.

BT 2012 Olympic sponsorship forces O2 Arena to rebrand
BT 2012 Olympic sponsorship forces O2 Arena to rebrand

The former Millennium Dome, which was rebranded the O2 Arena as part of a huge naming rights deal in 2007, is currently using the name NGA1 (North Greenwich Arena 1) as a working title in all Olympics documentation.

The rebranding will occur to avoid a conflict of interest with ‘domestic tier one' London 2012 sponsor BT - a rival of mobile phone giant O2.

An AEG (the firm which owns the arena) spokesperson said the deal to rebrand the venue for the Olympics was ‘agreed with LOCOG from the start' and that NGA1 was just a ‘working title'.

Huge sums of money are involved in both the Olympic and O2 sponsorships with BT and the mobile phone firm rumoured to be spending, respectively, an £80m one-off fee and £6m annually.

The O2 Arena will host gymnastics and basketball in 2012.

There is some concern over consumer confusion with regards to the rebranding, with a possible awareness campaign to ensure people know that ‘The O2' and ‘NGA1' are, in fact, the same place.

LOCOG said it was looking at a marketing strategy to combat any confusion, but use of the venue's former name, the Millennium Dome, was unlikely, because AEG does not like the negative 'white elephant' status associated with the moniker.

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