Cash-strapped Southbank Centre considers selling naming rights

The Southbank Centre (PA Archive)
The Southbank Centre (PA Archive)

The Southbank Centre has considered selling off naming rights to raise much-needed funds, its chief executive has said.

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, chief executive Elaine Bedell said she would consider naming rights in return for commercial sponsorship.

She told the paper: “It’s provocative, isn’t it? Those are conversations I’m perfectly prepared to have.”

The complex of cultural institutions requires £50m for urgent repairs, which Ms Bedell said she wanted the Government to contribute half of the required funding to.

However, the institution did not get any additional funding in Jeremy Hunt’s budget last month.

“Most of our philanthropists like the idea of maximising the public pound – they don’t like the idea of substituting it,” she said.

“They’re not prepared to cover for where they think there should be a government contribution.”

Among the needed repairs are the site’s heavily-used lifts, which date back to the 1970s, as well as repairs needed to the roof.

A new drainage system is also required alongside the replacement of cracked paving stones and the installation of better lighting.

The Southbank Centre is the UK’s fifth most visited attraction, with over 20 million visitors visiting the 11 acre site, which includes the Royal Festival Hall and the Hayward Gallery.

In June, funk and disco legend Chaka Khan is set to take the reins of the centre’s annual artist takeover Meltdown, following in the footsteps of previous curators David Byrne, Grace Jones, Yoko Ono, David Bowie, and Patti Smith.

The yearly event sees a musical icon staging their own dream festival, and often playing their own special show to mark the occasion.