Vertu Motors plc, the Gateshead-based motor retail group, has acquired the naming rights to the Eagles Community Arena in Newcastle in a five-year deal.

The purpose-built community, events and sports arena, which is home to the Newcastle Eagles basketball club, the most successful British Basketball team of all time, and the award-winning Eagles Community Foundation, will now be known as the Vertu Motors Arena.

The home of Newcastle Eagles community foundation and basketball club will now be known as the Vertu Motors Arena.

The deal will see signage featuring the Vertu Motors name added to the Scotswood Road venue’s exterior, as well as new branding throughout the popular destination, which will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people visiting the city and watching British Basketball League games live on Sky Sports.

New Vertu Motors Arena signage is being installed around this already iconic Scotswood Road landmark venue.

In addition to being the state-of-the-art venue for top-flight men’s and women’s basketball, the venue, which is owned and operated by the charity foundation, is a community and education hub with flexible spaces to host a wide range of business, entertainment and sporting events – ranging from meetings, conferences and weddings across its hospitality spaces up to large scale exhibitions and events in its multi-purpose arena with capacity crowds of up to 3,000 people.

As part of the arena’s firmly rooted commitment to its local area, since the start of the pandemic it has also been utilised as a COVID-19 testing centre, a base for food and sporting activity pack distribution and most recently it became the region’s biggest vaccination centre with up to 5,000 jabs being administered on site over a weekend.

Vertu Motors has a long-standing relationship with both the club and the charity. The region’s most successful sports team’s staff and players drive an iconic fleet of cars from the arena’s neighbouring Vertu Motors Honda dealership, which extended its support further into developing future generations of basketball players by sponsoring teams of young players participating in one of the foundation’s outreach programmes.

Robert Forrester, chief executive of Vertu Motors plc, said: “We are delighted to have our name above the door on this important events, sporting and community venue.

“The Vertu Motors Arena is a standout landmark in the city, which is visited not only by sports fans but businesses and local people and to have our name associated with it is an excellent opportunity for the business.

Vertu Motors chief executive Robert Forrester and Eagles Community Foundation CEO Sam Blake with the arena’s new court floor logo.

“The Arena is a hub for the local area, and we are proud to have the chance to support the valuable work the Foundation does and the many community initiatives that make the Arena a genuine community asset.

“Newcastle Eagles are an iconic sports team in the North East and one we are already working in partnership with and to extend that collaboration is extremely exciting.”

Sam Blake, chief executive officer of the Eagles Community Foundation, said: “It’s fantastic to have such an incredible investment from Vertu Motors for the future of the foundation, this venue and our community.

“The past twelve months have been a tough road to walk for all of us, so we hope this news brings a much-needed boost and a smile to all of our Eagles families, friends and volunteers.

The new name for the arena in place above empty seats that eagerly await the return of spectators and the thousands of visitors to the venue.

“We know everyone is looking forward to the return of sport, leisure, education and events over the coming months and we can’t wait to welcome it all to our newly renamed Vertu Motors Arena.”