THE Macron Stadium, the home of Bolton Wanderers Football Club, is to be renamed the University of Bolton Stadium.

Wanderers revealed the surprise sponsorship deal today, naming the University of Bolton as the club's new official "stadium naming rights partner".

The deal — the financial details of which is not being revealed — will see the stadium rebranded as the University of Bolton Stadium with immediate effect.

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Bolton Wanderers chairman Ken Anderson said: "We are extremely proud of this strategic long-term partnership with the University of Bolton.

"Like us, they are at the heart of the community and play a vital role in flying the flag for our great town.

"We will be honoured to display their brand on our stadium which will help them reach out to a wider audience."

READ MORE: Vice Chancellor - 'Partnership with Wanderers will offer students new opportunities'

University bosses say the deal will open up opportunities for students as well as raising the profile of the education establishment.

They declined to reveal the financial cost of the sponsorship deal but said it provided value for money and took into account the university's educational status.

Professor George Holmes President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, added: "We are very excited by continuing our association and support of Bolton Wanderers.

"Both the football club and the University of Bolton are synonymous with our town and we felt now was the right time to extend our strategic partnership; that includes increased benefits for our sport students."

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The University of Bolton name will replace that of the Italian sportswear company, with which an sponsorship deal was struck in 2014 for an initial four years after the Whites' long association with sportswear giant Reebok, which has given the stadium its name since it was opened in 1997, came to an end.

University managers stressed that the deal would benefit "all students" and was more than a marketing or branding exercise, opening up academic, professional and enrichment activities for those studying at the town centre campus.

Professor Holmes said: "The deal will enable students studying Sports Science to have an opportunity to help assess sportsmen and women in a professional environment which will greatly enhance their learning.

"They will have access to the state-of-the-art facilities and specialist expertise at the club with an opportunity to develop a real-world understanding of their subject in a professional environment; invaluable for our students as they seek employment further down the line."

He added: "Given that we are a town centre campus, this partnership with Bolton Wanderers will immediately create an excellent sporting infrastructure for our students.

"It’s an incredibly exciting move for the university."

Bolton Wanderers players are also said to benefit under the deal through using modern sport science equipment to improve fitness and training.

Already elite athletes and sports teams, including the England and Wales Rugby League use university's state-of-the-art facilities for training and rehabilitation.

The University of Bolton is the main sponsor of Manchester Giants to provide students with real-life experience in supporting athletes and volunteering opportunities.

Last year the University of Bolton became the town’s football club’s first short sponsor as it continues to team up with Wanderers.

Dr Kondal Kandadi, Pro Vice Chancellor (academic) said the deal would provide enrichment and health and wellbeing opportunities through the use of sporting facilities. And added that those studying sport sciences would have access to another educational resource which would also help develop their employability skills.

He said: "This this is an academic collaboration with the club which will benefit all students.

"If it was not an academic collaboration with the club we would not have gone for this."

Dr Kandadi added that to create a resource such as that offered at Bolton Wanderers Stadium would not only take years to build and be hindered by space as the university is based in the town centre.

In the Complete University Guide 2019 the university was number one in Greater Manchester for student satisfaction.

The number one rating, the university says, demonstrates the university's commitment to a Teaching Intensive, Research Informed culture assuring students of high teaching standards and experience that best prepares them for employment opportunities.