Newcastle Eagles have announced a name change ahead of the start of the new BBL season – and will now be known as the Esh Group Eagles after the construction company pumped funds into the club and their successful Foundation.
It is the first time in nearly 30 years that the club will carry a sponsor’s name and the decision was taken to reflect the increased financial contribution of Esh Group to the Eagles.
While Paul Blake accepts that the move might take some getting used to for the club’s loyal supporters, he says this kind of corporate hook-up is the way forward as the club looks to maximise revenues and attract more sponsors.
The logo has been changed to reflect the new deal and all BBL literature will now carry the Esh Group Eagles Newcastle name rather than the shorter version.
“It is a reflection of the support that the company has give us. I know that to most of our supporters we will be the Newcastle Eagles, but we wanted to do something to reflect the invaluable support that Esh Group have given us in the four seasons they have been sponsoring the Eagles,” owner Paul Blake said.
“This year there will be an increased support and funding for both the club and also, more importantly, the Foundation. Their commitment to the community programmes has been phenomenal and they really get that side of the club, which is obviously so important.”
While accepting that traditionalists might still refer to the Eagles by their previous moniker – which has been attached to the club since 1996 – Blake wanted to acknowledge the support of a local business. It will be the sixth different name for the organisation, which began life as EPAB Washington back in 1977 before a spell based in Sunderland – which ended in 1995.
“We will never stop carrying the Newcastle tag and we have made sure that Newcastle is still in the name. I know for a lot of people we’ll still be called Newcastle Eagles and that is understandable,” he said.
On the field, the Eagles will unveil their new-look line-up at a Press call in the city centre today – but they may not be finished with recruitment just yet.
The club have 21-year-old British hopeful Spencer Wells on trial and he played in the friendly against Team Northumbria last night. He comes from an American college background and has had spells playing in the lowel leagues in both Germany and Italy.
Meanwhile, Blake and other Eagles employees have a challenge of their own this Sunday when they take on the Great North Run in aid of the club’s Foundation. The club’s owner will be joined by press officer Claire Forrester and coach Marc Steutel as part of a six-person team taking on the famous 13.1mile course. Anyone who wants to donate can do so via this link: www.justgiving.com/teameaglesGNR .