Microsoft talks up Real Madrid partnership

Bill Gates and Cristiano Ronaldo could soon have a lot more in common than just inflated bank balances with Microsoft reportedly in talks with Real Madrid to take over the naming rights for the Spanish side’s stadium.

A report on the BBC website states that Microsoft is interested in taking over the rights for the 85,454 seater Santiago Bernabéu stadium in the Spanish capital.

“We have an excellent relationship with Real Madrid and in fact we recently signed an agreement with its foundation,” said Maria Garana, president of Microsoft in Spain. “They've raised... renaming the stadium and we're only talking about this possibility.”

Fans are reportedly unhappy at Madrid’s flirtations with Microsoft with one fan, Haidi Farnoud, saying as a Real Madrid fan he would “hate Microsoft forever if they touch anything related to Madrid.”

If Microsoft did end up acquiring the naming rights to the Santiago Bernabéu it would reflect a trend that has become increasingly prevalent in Europe in recent years and been around in North America for even longer.

Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena are among some of those to have signed lucrative naming rights deals and with financial fair play rules now in place, many clubs are signing such deals to maximise the amount that can be reinvested in the team.

On the Microsoft’s side of the deal it would give them a huge amount of brand recognition in the European market and around the world given how popular Real Madrid is on a global basis.

The deal would help Microsoft shift more of its Surface tablet computer in the European market especially and the deal it has just signed to take over Nokia’s handset division would also be set to benefit from the increased exposure the naming rights deal would present.

Image Credit: Flickr (J. de Vargas)