Newcastle change stadium name

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Newcastle have announced St James' Park is to be renamed the Sports Direct Arena as part of a plan to sell the naming rights to their famous stadium.

The Magpies hope to follow fellow Barclays Premier League clubs Arsenal and Manchester City by licensing the naming rights to the ground which has been their home since 1886. St James' Park, which has a capacity of over 52,000, could join the Emirates Stadium and the Etihad Stadium in adopting the name of an external backer.

Until the club can find a sponsor to buy the naming rights the ground will be named after owner Mike Ashley's sports retail company. Newcastle originally planned to allow sponsors to link their brand to St James' Park but that idea, put forward in 2009, is now replaced by the offer to purchase full naming rights.

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