Manly's home ground set for controversial rebranding
THE iconic fortress of the Manly Sea Eagles is set to be renamed Lottoland in an exchange for a seven-figure sum.
A proposal is being finalised between the club and the newcomer to the online lottery game for naming rights to Brookvale Oval.
The Sea Eagles are expected to announce more details in the coming days.
The Lottoland sign would be erected before the club's first NRL home game on March 5.
Sea Eagles chief financial officer Neil Bare was confident fans would supportive the name change as it would "save rugby league on the northern beaches".
Mr Bare said the deal would help the club's planned upgrade of the stadium, including a 4000-seat grandstand.
"This is the first step towards the upgrades. At the moment we are in the submission stages of an upgrade for Brookvale Oval. This sort of support from a key corporate partner we need to move forward with those plans," he said.
"One of the main reasons we partnered with them is they are very keen to support an upgrade of Brookvale Oval."
A development application put before Northern Beaches Council shows plans for the NRL club to build a $325,000, 85.5m-long metre sign on the Pittwater Rd side of the oval.
Northern Beaches Council administrator Dick Persson said he had concerns, but had been made powerless to stop the club choosing whichever branding it likes.
"I expressed my view to the Sea Eagles that I didn't think it was a good name, unfortunately the previous council did not include any veto right over the naming rights and I don't have the ability to influence it apart from expressing opinion," he said.
Northern Beaches Council owns the stadium, but the former Warringah Council gave the club stadium naming rights during contract negotiations last year.
At the time, a number of councillors expressed concerns that gambling, alcohol or offensive websites could get naming rights. But a majority of councillors voted down an amendment put forward to give the council vetoing powers over the oval's name.
Matt Brinckley, marketing director at Lottoland, said it was "all about ensuring Manly's future on the northern beaches".
"What is important to both of us is we see this as a long-term partnership, ensuring NRL can remain on the northern beaches on a suburban ground," he said.
Mr Bare said the two sides had similar community values, making Lottoland "the only group we wanted to work with".