Tampere Arena ends naming-rights agreement with Uros, cites financial concerns

The arena's board said the decision was based on the tech firm's weak financial position and negative publicity surrounding the company.

The arena is scheduled to open at the beginning of December. Image: Antti Eintola / Yle

Tampere Arena's board of directors has decided to terminate its naming-rights sponsorship agreement with Finnish technology firm Uros.

Instead, the board announced that the name of the multipurpose sporting arena — set to open in December — will revert back to the original Tampere Deck Arena.

In a statement released on Thursday morning, the board said the decision was based on Uros' weak financial position and the negative publicity surrounding the company, which was also impacting the public perception of the arena.

Last week, state investment agency Business Finland revealed that Uros had deliberately withheld information and provided false details in order to secure millions of euros in product development funding during the early 2010s.

Helsingin Sanomat also reported recently that the firm has failed to pay several small bills since July.

This left the board with serious doubts about the tech company's ability to meet the financial obligations of the naming-rights contract, the arena's CEO Marko Hurme said.

"For these reasons, the arena company does not see any opportunities for continued cooperation, so in this situation we think the decision is the only correct one," Hurme stated in the board's press release.

Speaking to Yle, Hurme said that the situation was "under control" despite the termination of the contract, and the board is in no hurry to find an alternative sponsor.

"We do not have any compelling need to find a replacement immediately," he said, adding that the board will now focus on the completion of the arena's construction and subsequent opening.

"We would like this discussion to go away, as it does not directly pertain to the arena company. The naming-rights agreement is a great opportunity for cooperation, but let’s see what the future holds. Now we will focus on the opening of the arena," Hurme told Yle.

City welcomes decision

The City of Tampere, which is a partner in the arena project, welcomed the board's decision, but added that the situation was "regrettable".

"We have been informed of the decision and we are sorry that such a situation has happened, but we understand the board's position," city CEO Juha Yli-Rajala said. "As a city, we are very pleased that the construction and preparation of the arena is now continuing at a good pace and that the naming issue will be removed from the agenda."

Tampere mayor Anna-Kaisa Ikonen (NCP) also tweeted (siirryt toiseen palveluun) her support for the decision.

"It is good that a solution has been found to an unfortunate situation. Fortunately, the arena itself is well under way and we will soon be able to enjoy its great facilities and events as planned," Ikonen wrote.

The Tampere Deck Arena is a 13,455 capacity multi-purpose stadium located in the centre of the city, and is scheduled to open to the public later this year when the two Finnish Elite League (SM-liiga) ice hockey games are played on 3 and 4 December.

An official opening ceremony is also scheduled for 15 December.