This Turkish club proves innovative thinking reaps rewards


VENTURES AFRICA – One of the biggest clichés in the world is to ‘think outside the box’- to do things in a different way, solve problems creatively and help create or do something unique. The world’s biggest advancements have been a result of outside the box thinking but in the field of sports, there is usually little wiggle room to do something so startlingly different.


Meet Bursaspor Football Club

A Turkish club playing in the country’s top division, the Turkish Super Lig, Bursaspor are about to reap rewards for some daring, innovative thinking.

The club’s nickname ‘Yeşil Timsahlar’ translates to ‘Green Crocodiles’ and so when in 2011, the club decided on building a new stadium, it outrageously decided to base the stadium design on and have it shaped as a giant, green crocodile. As though building a stadium which looked like a crocodile was not enough, the club decided to name it the Crocodile Arena. Throwing in an extra twist, fans will have to enter the stadium through the open mouth of the crocodile with eyes and teeth that light up during match-days.

Naturally, the designs have caused a stir as the proposed 45,000 seater ground, which had an estimated project budget of 70 million euros, will immediately become one of the world’s most iconic pieces of sporting infrastructure once launched.

Fittingly, and proving a feel good twist to the story, Bursaspor are set to be rewarded for thinking outside the box as famous French clothing brand, Lacoste is in talks with the club for the stadium rights. The Lacoste logo is also a crocodile makes it a perfect match for the club and its new stadium and Bursaspor chairman Recep Bölükbaşı sounds confident that a deal will be struck. The deal for the stadium rights is valued at 35 million euros for a ten year period with Lacoste also reporting seeking advertising on the club’s jerseys, most likely in a separate deal.

The appeal for Lacoste is less about its involvement in sports as it hardly plays in the sports marketing space while being involved in tennis and golf. The brand though will gain fantastic media mileage from the stadium naming rights deal as the Crocodile Arena, once opened, will become one of the most talked about sports stadiums globally and possibly a major tourist attraction in Turkey.

For Bursaspor, it must be hugely satisfying that their creativity could be handsomely rewarded without compromising on any of its traditions as club as they have, in fact, advanced their famous nickname. The new Bursaspor stadium is expected to open next season.