New commercial deal could lay the foundations for Sheffield Sharks’ community arena plans
Sheffield Sharks hope that a new commercial deal, which has involved the club handing out naming rights, could pave the way for it to build a community arena.
A press conference was held at the Mercure St Paul's Hotel to reveal the basketball club will now be known as B Braun Sheffield Sharks as part of the three-year deal.
A new logo was also unveiled and chairman Yuri Matischen said the club remained 'determined' to build a 2,500-seater arena on the Olympic Legacy Park.
He said: “Our focus is on building a community arena. We're moving to Ponds Forge in the interim and this deal gives us the consistency and platform to be able to do it.”
Sharks' hopes of building the arena were dealt a blow when Sheffield Council said it would provide sports facilities for schoolchildren at Oasis Academy Don Valley – due to start in September – at the English Institute of Sport rather than pursue the Sharks' arena idea.
But Hans Hux, chief executive of B Braun, said he hoped the deal would help the club pursue its own proposals.
He said: “We, as a company, invested lots of money into the city. We also want to see the city support teams like the Sharks because they carry out a huge responsibility in terms of keeping youths off the streets.
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“I don't fully understand why there hasn’t been more support forthcoming for building the new arena.”
He added: “I will do everything in my power to make it happen.”
The deal will see medical company B Braun continue to work with the club on its community programme in schools.
Head coach Atiba Lyons said he was 'excited' about the partnership.
He said: “It’s incredible from the club's point of view. Sport is such a volatile industry so when you have a company like B Braun that's supporting us like this it means so much.
“When I was here previously [2006-2007] we did stuff in schools but it was not targeted the way we do it now.
“It's a lot more impactful, we get a lot students through the system and B Braun have enabled us to gear up what we do in the community.”