Vodafone's signal fades as Telstra deal looms

Austadiums   |  Wednesday 17th November 2004

Vodafone Arena could get a name change during the Commonwealth Games because of a possible sponsorship deal with Telstra.

A list of Games venues released by the State Government yesterday described Vodafone Arena, a 10,500-seat complex that will host the basketball and netball finals and track cycling, as Melbourne Park.

The Age believes the arena would be referred to as Melbourne Park on venue information if the Commonwealth Games Corporation secured a sponsorship deal with Telstra.

Melbourne Park is the name of the sporting precinct that includes the arena, the Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park Function Centre, Margaret Court Arena and three car parks.

The neighbouring 15,000-seat Rod Laver Arena, which will host Games gymnastics, keeps its name in the list. Telstra Dome, which will host rugby sevens, also retains its name.

The 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games needs about $130 million in corporate sponsorship. Commonwealth Games Corporation spokeswoman Michelle Coffey refused to comment on the Vodafone Arena name change.

"We are active in the market to secure a telecommunications sponsor but at this stage we don't have one," she said.

Telstra spokesman Warwick Ponder said the company was in discussions with the corporation. Vodafone did not return calls from The Age.

Opposition Commonwealth Games spokesman Gordon Rich-Phillips slammed the possible name change. "How far do you go with sponsorship deals?" he said. "To change a venue's name for 10 days, when everyone knows what it is, is silly and will lead to potential confusion."

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Vodafone Arena could get a name change during the Commonwealth Games because of a possible sponsorship deal with Telstra.
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