AIRLINE giant Emirates has secured the naming rights to Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower after the deal was signed off this morning by city leaders.
Tory planning and regeneration boss Luke Stubbs said it was an ‘exceptional result’ for the city and will help to offset cuts being imposed by the government in the years ahead.
The agreement - thought to be worth £1m a year to the city council - will see the landmark be named the Emirates Spinnaker Tower.
Cllr Stubbs said at a meeting in Portsmouth’s civic offices: ‘I am going to approve. It’s clearly a very good deal for the city and shows the benefit that Portsmouth is deriving from the America’s Cup.
‘I know there has been some criticism in terms of costs associated with hosting the cup and the Ben Ainslie land clean up, but this deal more than offsets that.
‘It’s an exceptional result. We have to make considerable savings and this will go a long way towards offsetting that.
Securing lucrative sponsorship deals on assets such as the Spinnaker Tower is a great example of how this new Conservative administration is thinking commerciallyCllr Donna Jones
‘This also associates Portsmouth with a global brand and that can only be a good thing.’
Cllr Donna Jones, Tory council leader, also praised the deal.
‘What we were looking for was a brand at the top of its game and people that would bring more than just cash in their pockets, and something for the city.
‘This deal does that, and this deal exceeds all expectations.’
Details of the company being lined up for the lucrative deal had been kept tightly under wraps by Portsmouth City Council.
The News undertands that the deal will be nearly £1m a year for the naming rights to the 560ft tower.
The city’s most recognisable structure is due to be repainted immediately now the deal is agreed.
The council has previously said the money will go towards mitigating an expected £11m drop in government grants to the city this year.
A report to today’s council meeting recommending agreeing to sell the naming rights for the Spinnaker Tower for at least the next five years, to agree to the immediate painting and rebranding of the tower and to have new signage installed no later than July 17.
The report said: ‘The company have indicated their desire to acquire the naming rights of the Spinnaker Tower on the proviso that branding and signage can be in situ in time for the start of the America’s Cup World Series 2015. In order to meet this deadline, painting of the tower will need to take place with immediate effect.
‘The financial deal proposed represents a very credible offer from a premium brand.’
The council says the repainting of the tower will not require planning permission and it can therefore take place immediately – although it is not known how it will be painted. But displaying the company’s name on the tower will require planning consent as it is an advertisement.
The council has been looking into advertising and sponsorship opportunities for the tower since 2009, as a way of generating cash for the city. The News revealed last month the council was looking to boost its coffers by selling sponsorship at the tower and even tweeted a mocked-up image of the tower decked out in Virgin branding to billionaire Richard Branson.