Businessman Chris Rea agreed to put his company’s name to New York Stadium to settle a bet he made with Rotherham United chairman Tony Stewart.
Rea, founder and group managing director of Rotherham-based AESSEAL, described NYS as “The Field of Dreams” and admitted he never thought the £20 million complex would be such a success.
His company, who employ more than 1,650 people and increased sales to more than £146 million last year, are paying a significant six-figure sum for each of the next five seasons to have the Millers’ home renamed ‘The AESSEAL New York Stadium’.
“He built the field of dreams,” Rea said of his old friend, Stewart. “I bet him a six-figure sum that it wouldn’t work.
“He called me up and said ‘it’s worked, so now you owe me’. So I said ‘okay, you’d better get your guy to talk to my CEO and collect on the bet’. He did it. It’s a beautiful facility.”
AESSEAL (pronounced Ay-ee-es-seal) operate in 38 countries and sell to well over 100.
Rea added: “Championship football has the fourth highest television audience of any football league in the world, after the Premiership, the Italian league and the Spanish league. If you want brand recognition the only way to do it globally is through television.”
Stewart said: “The relationship I have with Chris goes back 30 years. We had factories side by side in Rotherham. I’ve looked on and seen how Chris’s company is now a major international company. I idolise what he has achieved with his team of people because it’s incredible. We’ve kept in touch. It’s an incredible, outstanding deal for the club. It’s good for the town.”
The branding begins with the Boxing Day match with Huddersfield.
New Millers loan signing Middlesbrough winger Emmanuel Ledesma is expected to be in the squad against Birmingham today.