By Staff writer
Dubai airline's plan to add red and white colours to Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth as part of naming rights deal sparks 10,000-name petition
Plans by Emirates Airline to brand the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth in its red and white colours as part of a new naming rights deal could be in doubt.
The Dubai-based airline said last week that it will be the first ever sponsor of the Tower, one of the UK's tallest, which will be rebranded as Emirates Spinnaker Tower from July.
Part of the new agreement which will span five years and is worth £3.5 million is that Emirates’ red branding will run up the length and breadth of the Tower.
But the new red and white colour scheme may have to be scrapped following a fierce public backlash because they are the same as the city's arch football rivals Southampton.
Nearly 10,000 people have signed a petition against the rebranding, local media reported.
Portsmouth Council's Tory leader Cllr Donna Jones was quoted as saying that she had spoken with Emirates and the chief executive of Portsmouth FC to come up with a new design.
Emirates Airline said it was not prepared to comment at this stage.
Jones said: "As Leader of the City Council I have been extremely worried and concerned about the strong public response to the design of the Spinnaker Tower following the announcement of the Emirates deal.
"I fully understand people’s feelings about ‘blue’ being the city’s colour and the city emblem.
"I am pleased to advise that after working with Emirates over the weekend, and having spoken to Mark Catlin, chief executive of Portsmouth FC, and other key stakeholders, we are working up a new design for the Tower. The design will reflect the city’s heritage."