New name for new Headingley
One of Britain’s most famous sporting venues is to be renamed as part of the deal which has secured international cricket in Leeds for the next 15 years.
Headingley, the home of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and one of England’s traditional Test grounds, is to be known as the Headingley Carnegie Stadium after an agreement was struck with Leeds Metropolitan University for naming rights.
Under the plans to re-develop the famous venue in Leeds, the university’s Carnegie faculty will be sited at the ground which also houses Leeds Tykes rugby union club and Leeds Rhinos rugby league team.
The deal to name the stadium is for an initial 10-year period and includes a five-year extension option.
Only a handful of weeks ago, the future of Headingley as a home to the England cricket team was under threat because part of the 15-year staging agreement with the England and Wales Cricket Board included the proviso that Yorkshire owned their own ground by December 31, 2005.
That deadline was met by the county thanks to a £9million loan from Leeds City Council and a further fundraising scheme to raise an additional £3million, both to be paid back over 15 years - allowing Yorkshire to own their own ground for the first time in their history.
England captain Michael Vaughan, present at Headingley for Wednesday’s unveiling of the new plans, said: “As a Yorkshire player and England captain it was a bit of a blow to return from Pakistan with a knee injury to find out that Headingley would not necessarily retain international status.
“So to hear on New Year’s Eve that it had been secured for 15 years was just the tonic to end 2005 after such a great year for cricket.”
As well as hosting future Ashes Tests, Headingley is set for a revamp at two ends of the cricket ground - the biggest project a joint stand with the adjacent rugby stadium.
It is expected that the new relationship with Leeds Met University could also expand the sporting events held in Leeds.
The university is now an equal partner with the rugby and cricket sides of the Leeds Cricket Football and Athletic Club.
Former athlete Brendan Foster MBE, Chancellor of the University, said: “This is one of the most exciting partnerships I have heard of in the UK, or even outside the UK for that matter.”