Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Spinnaker Tower rebranded with name of sponsor Emirates

The Spinnaker Tower before and after Image copyright David Walton/Emirates
Image caption A large area of the tower will be turned red as part of the £3.5m deal between Emirates and Portsmouth City Council

Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower will be painted red and rebranded with the name of its commercial sponsor as part of a £3.5m naming rights deal.

The soon-to-be-called Emirates Spinnaker Tower was approved by the city council to raise revenue.

The branding is expected to be in place in time for the America's Cup World Series sailing event in July.

A petition against the change of colour was started within hours of the announcement, gaining 460 signatures.

Emirates' name will be displayed on the exterior of the tower and large portions will be turned red.

The naming rights will be for five years, with the first changes to branding and signage in place by 17 July.

Image copyright Spinnaker Tower
Image caption The tower on the waterfront at Gunwharf Quays has three viewing decks

The city council's leader Donna Jones said: "One of the caveats in any deal that we considered is that the name Spinnaker must remain.

"We didn't want the tower to lose its own identity so any branding or painting are things I have the final say on so that we can ensure it will not be detrimental to the iconic tower."

People have expressed concern that the tower in Portsmouth is to be painted the colours of rival football team Southampton FC.

The petition against the changes said: "To allow the colours of Southampton to stand tall on one of our city's most prominent landmarks shows an incredible lack of empathy for the residents. It must be stopped."

Paul Andrews, who describes himself as a Southampton FC supporter on his profile, wrote on Twitter: "All it needs now is the #SaintsFC badge at the top."

The 560ft (170m) tower opened in 2005. It is owned by the council but run by a private company.

Emirates is the new sponsor of the FA Cup. It sponsors a number of sports teams, including Arsenal, as well as sports tournaments and arts events.

Image copyright Spinnaker Tower
Image caption The 560ft (170m) tower which opened in 2005 will be renamed the Emirates Spinnaker Tower

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