Hibernian Aviva, Ireland’s largest insurance company, has secured the naming rights to what will now be called Aviva Stadium in what is one of the most significant sponsorships in Irish history.
The deal sees Hibernian Aviva take on the naming rights of the redeveloped Lansdowne Road for a ten-year period and provide investment support to the IRFU and FAI for their grassroots programmes.
Details of the sponsorship were unveiled today (Thursday) at a function in Dublin.
In making the announcement, Philip Browne, Chairman of the Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company and Chief Executive of the Irish Rugby Football Union, said that he was delighted to welcome Hibernian Aviva on board.
From the outset the IRFU and the FAI stated that the naming rights would be an important element in the funding of the €;400 million stadium which will be a home for both Irish rugby and soccer.
“It is important to understand that the funding provided by Hibernian Aviva for the naming rights would generate both current and future investment in the development of both sports,” Browne said.
“In that context, we are delighted that Hibernian Aviva will also be investing in the development of grassroots programmes for both the IRFU and the FAI right across the country.”
The IRFU and FAI are confident that in Aviva Stadium they have a model that will sustain both of their sports well into the future.
Browne added it would be wrong, however, only to dwell on what Aviva Stadium means for the two sports.
“We believe that in the difficult economic conditions we are now going through, Aviva Stadium will be of huge benefit to the economy as a whole.
“Previous research shows that the weekend of an Ireland v England rugby international has an economic impact of up to €;90 million on the local economy.
“While that may be at the top end of the spectrum, it needs to be remembered that in any given year Aviva Stadium will host around ten major international sporting occasions, not to mention concerts and events such as the UEFA final which the FAI has already secured or a future Heineken Cup final which we will undoubtedly get.
“Even taking the most conservative view, I do not think it would be exaggerating to say that Aviva Stadium could have an impact of some €;250 million on the local economy each year.
“Hibernian Aviva’s support will drive both our sports and the economy at a time when it needs it more than ever. We are delighted to welcome them to the team,” he added.
Speaking on behalf of Hibernian Aviva, Stuart Purdy, Group Chief Executive, said the company is delighted to be a partner in such a major sponsorship and contributor to the Irish economic and sports landscape.
“Hibernian Aviva has a strong Irish heritage built up over the last one hundred years of service to Irish consumers and as we rebrand under our parent company name Aviva, we will continue to build on this business strength,” he said.
“Contributing to the economy and to the communities in which we operate are vitally important to us and I can think of no better way to demonstrate this than by supporting Aviva Stadium and IRFU and FAI grassroots programmes.”
Purdy continued: “In addition to the brand awareness opportunities that come with a sponsorship of this scale and stature, as a company with a network reaching all over the country, the national and local reach of this sponsorship are important to us.
“We are looking forward to working with Aviva Stadium, the IRFU and FAI on this partnership.”
Commenting on this investment, John Delaney, Chief Executive of the FAI, said he echoed all that had been said before and that the FAI was looking forward to working with Hibernian Aviva on strengthening football grassroots programmes which encourage participation in the sport among children and young adults.
He said the recent announcement that the 2011 UEFA Europa League final would be played at the Aviva Stadium is a fantastic start for the partnership.
“It really is a tremendous endorsement of just what is being achieved. I think it is fair to say that everyone in UEFA could see the potential of what we are developing,” he said.
“One has only to think of some of the other stadia that were in line for the final to see just how world class the facility we are building is going to be.”