March 12, 2021 @ 15:08 by Richard Dawson
A North East motor retail group has acquired the naming rights to the Eagles Community Arena in a five-year deal.
The purpose-built community and sports arena, which is home to the Newcastle Eagles basketball club, will now be known as the Vertu Motors Arena.
Newcastle Eagles are the most successful British basketball team of all time and the new deal will see signage featuring the Vertu Motors name added to the Scotswood Road venue’s exterior.
New courtside branding will also be seen by hundreds of thousands of people visiting the city and watching British Basketball League (BBL) games live on Sky Sports.
As well as being the home of Newcastle Eagles, the Vertu Motors Arena is a community and education hub with flexible spaces for a range of business, entertainment and sporting events.
The arena has recently been used as a COVID-19 testing centre, a base for food and sporting activity pack distribution and most recently the region’s biggest vaccination centre with up to 5000 jabs being administered on site over a weekend.
Vertu Motors has a long-standing relationship with both the club and the charity.
Sports team staff and players drive an fleet of cars from the arena’s neighbouring Vertu Motors Honda dealership, which extended its support further into developing future generations of basketball players by sponsoring teams of young players participating in one of the foundation’s outreach programmes.
Robert Forrester, chief executive of Vertu Motors plc, said: “We are delighted to have our name above the door on this important events, sporting and community venue.
“The Vertu Motors Arena is a standout landmark in the city, which is visited not only by sports fans but businesses and local people and to have our name associated with it is an excellent opportunity for the business.
“The Arena is a hub for the local area, and we are proud to have the chance to support the valuable work the Foundation does and the many community initiatives that make the Arena a genuine community asset.
“Newcastle Eagles are an iconic sports team in the North East and one we are already working in partnership with and to extend that collaboration is extremely exciting.”
Sam Blake, chief executive of the Eagles Community Foundation, said: “It’s fantastic to have such an incredible investment from Vertu Motors for the future of the foundation, this venue and our community.
“The past twelve months have been a tough road to walk for all of us, so we hope this news brings a much-needed boost and a smile to all of our Eagles families, friends and volunteers.
“We know everyone is looking forward to the return of sport, leisure, education and events over the coming months and we can’t wait to welcome it all to our newly renamed Vertu Motors Arena.”