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Liberty Stadium becomes Swansea.com stadium in new seven-figure naming rights deal

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Swansea City football club has announced a brand new naming deal for its stadium with the Liberty Stadium name being dropped.

The new 10-year agreement sees Swansea.com take over from Liberty Properties plc as the stadium’s title sponsor. The deal will see Swansea City and the Ospreys represent our city and region by stepping out to play at the Swansea.com Stadium.

The stadium has been known as the Liberty Stadium since its opening in 2005.

Swansea.com is a trading company based in Swansea. It has several investments across different sectors including travel, hospitality, real estate and sports. Swansea.com is proud to be based in Swansea, employing local people in the city in which it invests, and has done for the last 30 years.

It is the latest chapter in the relationship between the two companies. Many of Swansea.com’s businesses have been involved with the club over the last two decades and more.

This began with the sponsorship of a stand at the Vetch Field in 1998, through to appearing on the front of the club’s shirt from 2001 to 2009, with Swansea.com itself holding that position from 2007 to 2009.

The club has been looking for a new naming rights partner for the stadium since it signed a 37-year lease for the stadium in February 2018 with the aim of growing the club commercially.

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A number of global businesses, including those in the travel, gambling and cryptocurrency sectors were reported to have been interested in the naming rights.

The club has instead moved to a more local focus in their partnerships, including having Swansea University as front of shirt sponsor.

The new seven-figure Swansea.com deal gives the club additional financial security at a challenging time.

The swansea.com stadium (Image: Swansea City FC)

Swansea City chief executive, Julian Winter said: “I am delighted that we, as a club, are able to announce this naming rights deal for the stadium,”

“I am proud of the work we have done as a club when it comes to focusing on our local area and community.

“This football club prides itself on its place at the heart of the community it represents, and adding to our portfolio of local business sponsors and partners is another indicator of our commitment to our city.

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“We welcome Swansea.com as our new naming rights partner, and we look forward to a successful period – on and off the pitch – over the next 10 years.”

“From a commercial point of view the main focus has been to drive the commercial longevity of the business and financially futureproof the football club,” said Swansea City’s head of commercial, Rebecca Edwards-Symmons.

“A key part of that has been to find a stadium naming rights partner whose values match our own, and a deal that represents a significant commitment and financial boost to the club following what has been a difficult time at all levels of the game amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“That we have been able to reach agreement with a Swansea-based company makes total sense for us as a football club, and aligns with our desire to accentuate the links we already have with numerous businesses and partners within our city and surrounding area.

“We look forward to what we hope will be a successful future with Swansea City playing at the Swansea.com Stadium.”

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The stadium has been known as the Liberty Stadium since 2005 (Image: Swansea City FC)

Swansea.com’s group managing director Jacob Hughes said: “It is an honour and privilege to continue our investment into Swansea City with this 10-year commitment through the stadium naming rights.

“With many of our businesses being based in Swansea, employing local people, we feel the opportunity to further our partnership with the club is amazing. Over the last 20 years the business has worked hard to invest in the city and its surrounding areas.”

Ospreys CEO, Nick Garcia added: “Competing in the United Rugby Championship and the Champions Cup takes the Ospreys and our supporters around the world, with matches in seven countries across two hemispheres.

“However, nothing makes us happier than hosting global rugby supporters and clubs, where they can meet our supporters and partners at our home in Swansea.  Swansea.com is a great brand that aligns with our roots and will be familiar to many of our supporters. 

“We’re delighted to have them as the new title partner of the stadium and look forward to working with them to build the best rugby matchday experience across the two competitions.”

Cllr Rob Stewart, leader of Swansea Council, said: “I’m delighted our stadium has a name that reflects our wonderful city and a company that has invested in Swansea and its people.

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“This long-term commitment will ensure we continue to grow the relationship between the stadium, its football and rugby teams and the people of Swansea.”

(Lead image: Geograph / Jaggery)

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Cricket

Council leader welcomes news Glamorgan to bring first class cricket back to Neath

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The Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Cllr Steve Hunt, has congratulated Neath Cricket Club on its success in attracting senior Glamorgan matches to its Gnoll Ground for the first time in more than 20 years.

On a visit the club’s ground, Cllr Hunt heard from Neath Cricket Club officials how first class facilities, pitch management and other factors led to Glamorgan staging two one day matches in Neath in August.

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Glamorgan will play Lancashire at the Gnoll on August 17th and two days later Hampshire will be the visitors to the Neath town centre ground.

Both matches, expected to draw big crowds, will be 50-over games and both are part of the Royal London Cup competition.

Cllr Hunt said: “It means a lot to have first class cricket played once again in the centre of Neath at the Gnoll – it really puts Neath on the map.

“I want to congratulate the team at Neath Cricket Club for achieving this success. It will bring big crowds into the centre of Neath where the building of the new Neath Leisure Centre has just been constructed.”

Glamorgan usually play their matches at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, however a limited number of matches are played at other Welsh grounds.

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Earlier this year the club announced that they would no longer play at Swansea’s St Helens ground due to the condition of the pitch and the poor operational infrastructure.

Announcing their fixtures at the beginning of the season, Glamorgan’s head of operations, Dan Cherry, said: “Regrettably, we are unable to play at St Helen’s this year, with the facilities no longer able to support the hosting of domestic cricket at the venue.”

(Lead image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

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Alastair Brownlee wins inaugural Swansea IRONMAN as thousands of spectators line streets to watch

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Olympian, Alastair Brownlee has won the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea, with thousands of spectators lining the Swansea to Gower course to watch the event.

Pro-athlete Kat Matthews won the women’s race.

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Alistair Brownlee said: “It’s been a tough year with some ups and downs, I think I decided to race Swansea about three weeks ago. It’s actually a place I know pretty well as I’ve done some training here throughout the years, so it’s nice to be back. It’s great to take on my first 70.3 in the UK.”

On the podium, Brownlee said: “I had a couple of occasions where I was going up a hill, looking at the view over the coast to my left or right, which was really beautiful. There were some great crowds in random spots throughout the Gower, with people popping up on farm tracks and all sorts. It was lovely. I think the crowd and the weather are what made it today.”

At the pre-event press conference, Kat Matthews said: “I’m most looking forward to the change in dynamic of the course. You’ve got the first half which is really punchy rolling hills, trying not to get distracted by the sea and beach. Then you’ve got the slight technical aspect, and then you’ve got the TT element. I think it just adds the whole package to the race.

“We’ve been in and out of the cafes, actually experiencing the local area. It’s been amazing – all the locals have already been really nice. I think we’ve seen a mix of the normal Swansea, having arrived so early, and then the triathlon community wafting through. It’s been a really good mix.”

Kat Matthews celebrates winning the women’s race at IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea (Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Swansea’s own Shane Williams also toed the start line at the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea, finishing the race 16th in his age group with a time of 05:17:46. His first IRONMAN 70.3 event ahead of his upcoming full-distance triathlon at IRONMAN Wales in Tenby on 11 September, Williams credited the spectator support as his key driver to participate in IRONMAN events.

Ahead of the race, Shane told organisers: “I’m most looking forward to the support. It’s the reason I did my first IRONMAN down in Pembrokeshire. The support at IRONMAN Wales is unbelievable, and I’m expecting the same in Swansea. If any of the other IRONMAN events are anything to go by, we’ll have a stack of people showing up to cheer us on.”

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A proud 63% of the athlete field raced for Wales, with over 700 athletes from the Swansea area taking to the middle-distance course. Topping the Tri Club podium were local clubs Celtic Tri, Swansea Vale Tri, and the Port Talbot Harriers, who collectively brought 160 of their affiliated athletes to compete in the event.

IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea sold out over 2,000 places in less than four days and brought an estimated economic boost upward of £2.5m to the region. Returning to Swansea until at least 2024, the event will look to continue growing its popularity and visibility over the coming years.

Swansea Council say that the event brought an estimated £2.5m to the economy, with many accommodation providers doing excellent business along with many other businesses in the hospitality sector.

Ahead of the event, Declan Byrne, VP of Operations, EMEA at The IRONMAN Group said: “It takes a while to get to this point in an event’s evolution. It was November 2019 when we came down here first, to get this event up and running on a windswept day. We met our good partners in Swansea Council and Welsh Government who wanted to support this event.”

“We wanted to put a 70.3 in Wales. That was the vision. We know how strong the Welsh triathlon community is, especially in South Wales, and we felt that Swansea was the perfect location when we met with the teams here. It was also the fact that it was a community and a host venue that really wanted us to be here.

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“We have a fantastic field of professional athletes as well, which delivers a brilliant image for this event that puts Swansea and the triathlon community on the global map.”

Athletes compete during the swim section of IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea (Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Athletes entering the water (Image: Huw Fairclough for IRONMAN)
The cycle portion of the route headed along Mumbles Road and around the Gower (Image: Huw Fairclough for IRONMAN
Maurice Clavel of Germany competes in the bike section of IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea (Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Kat Matthews of Britain celebrates winning the women’s race at IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea (Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Antonio Lopez of Spain finishes second at IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea (Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Council cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies said: “It was an amazing week, topped off brilliantly by the weekend’s two world-class events.

“I thank all those who took part, arranged and supported the events – and thank all residents and businesses across Swansea and Gower for their patience and understanding as they made changes to their day-to-day lives.

“We do appreciate that road closures cause some disruption to normal daily routines – but they’re important to make such events as safe as possible for all involved and local residents.

“Bringing top class sport and other events to any location has its challenges but we’re determined to give the people of this area their biggest ever programme of major events.

“They give local people great things to see and do – and they boost the local economy in a substantial way.

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“This truly was a big weekend of international sport and it shone a global spotlight on Swansea as a destination.”

(Lead image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

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It’s in the game: First ever Welsh Esports team head to Commonwealth Esports Championships

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The first ever Welsh e-sports team are heading to the 2022 Commonwealth Games’ Esports Championships in Birmingham to compete in the prestigious inaugural main event, thanks to support from the Welsh Government’s Creative Wales agency.

Esports is a form of competition using video games played competitively for spectators, typically by professionals.

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Esports Wales Team (Image: Esports Wales)

Esports is a growing industry. It provides people of all-abilities the opportunity to participate a wide range of competitions, providing them with the opportunity to develop new and existing skills.

Esports Wales, the not-for-profit Welsh body for competitive and grassroots gaming, is heading towards an action-packed summer at the Commonwealth Esports Championships, amidst a growing awareness of the scale and potential of this new industry.

The contest at the Commonwealth Games, being held from the 6th-7th August, will feature topflight esports athletes from across the nations of the Commonwealth, with Esports Wales fielding teams in six categories:

  • Rocket League Open
  • Rocket League Womens
  • Dota 2 Open
  • Dota 2 Womens
  • Efootball
  • Efootball Womens.
Esports is a growing industry attracting huge crowds at tournaments worldwide

Creative Wales recently confirmed £25,000 in funding to Esports Wales to help with their next stage of growth. The funding will support the establishment of a Welsh league, which will then lead to representation at tournaments in the UK and beyond.

The funding will help secure coaching and training for staff and teams, enable the hosting of new in-person and awareness-raising events, and support membership growth and marketing.

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden said: “Esports is an exciting and inclusive new development for sport and for Wales. I’m delighted we have been able to support the establishment of Wales’ first ever Esports team, which will further support the growth of the games industry in Wales.

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“I very much look forward to cheering on the Welsh team in Birmingham. Pob lwc i chi gyd!”

Chief Operating Officer of Esports Wales Jack “Anders” Lawrence said: “The practice the teams put in showed through the qualification process with the mixed Rocket League and mixed Dota 2 teams advancing through the qualifiers without dropping a series.

“I’m thoroughly looking forward to watching all of our six brilliant teams compete at the Commonwealth Esports Championships. It will be a fantastic step for Welsh Esports and its community to be part of an event of this magnitude.”

(Lead image: Esports Wales)

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