JJB Sports Stadium to become "DW" Stadium: "Death Watch" in the making?
JJB Sports, the UK's second largest sporting goods retailer, has been on our death watch list since it's gone into freefall over the past year, with £60m in debts and losses of up to £10m from February 2008 through January 2009. But JJB’s woes seemed to have been alleviated for 5 minutes recently when the sale of its fitness clubs were repurchased by its 72 year old founder Dave Whelan recently, sending its stocks leaping by 30% on Wednesday.
But it's a rollercoaster ride. Once the excitement faded, shares plummeted down once again. And they are not alone in the retail struggle. Footwear chains Qube and Original Shoe Company went into administration in recent months, causing 400 jobs to evaporate. Then again, they say that the name of a company makes a big difference in its perception.
So when Whelan announced that he would be re-launching its retail stores under the name “Serious about Sports”, and that JJB Stadium will also be renamed as "DW Stadium" on August 1, after Wigan’s 10-year naming rights deal with JJB Sports expires, some speculation about the future of the sports company should be expected.
Bloggers are calling the name change "the least innovative brand name change in history", and are fretting over having to work “DW Stadium” into football chants. The DW in the stadium’s new name officially stands for DW Sports-Fitness.com, the latest business venture of 72-year-old Dave Whelan (and DW being his initials). Other suggestions have included “Doesn’t Work,” “Drunk Warrior,” and “Deep Water.”
"Now we can look forward to a whole new era as the DW Stadium," Whelan says. Can we? We'll see! With JJB Sports falling on tough times lately, could "DW" become a 'Death Watch' mantra instead, as the high street economy tries to weather the current slump?