Going cheap: World Cup stadium

TOKYO - Yokohama city officials have halved the cost of naming rights for the city's World Cup stadium after overtures to more than 200 companies failed to yield a single bid, local media reported.

The 72,000-seat venue for the 2002 World Cup final was renamed Nissan Stadium in 2005 after the Japanese carmaker purchased the naming rights for 2.35 billion yen ($25.74 million) for five years.

However, Nissan Motor Co, the main backers of the stadium's J-League club Yokohama F-Marinos, have decided not to renew their deal after it expires in February 2010, citing the need to cut costs amid the global economic downturn.

Officials had sought 300 million yen ($3.2 million) a year for the state-of-the-art stadium, constructed at a cost of $660 million, but have cut the price to 150 million for a minimum three-year deal.

The 72,000-seat venue was built for the 2002 World Cup tournament, which Japan co-hosted with South Korea, under the original name of Yokohama International Stadium.

The stadium, Japan's largest, has also hosted FIFA's Club World Cup final since 2002 and regular international athletics competitions.