Ireland’s premier GAA arena, Croke Park is to be renamed the SSE Airtricity Arena.
The announcement was made last night at a press conference at the GAA Headquarters.
Speaking at the launch of the ‘New Name initiative’ GAA President John Horan said.
“It’s the right time for the GAA to go this route. Going forward we need to follow the money and use sponsorship to bring the Gaelic sporting bodies well and truly into the twenty-first century.”
Archbishop Thomas Croke is Old News
Horan shocked and angered many at the press conference when he said,” Thomas Croke was a great man and it was right and fitting that the premier Gaelic stadium was named after him. But that was then this is now. It’s time to move on.
The audience was even more annoyed whit some of the other proposed sponsorship measures.
The All Ireland Leagues will in future be referred to as the SSE Airtricity Games. And a new design of hurley shaped like a lightning bolt which incorporates the SSE Airtricity logo will be used.
Horan went on to say. “For ten years now Airtricity has been sponsoring the FAI with their foreign English soccer. It’s only right that true Irish sportsmen and even a few women get a slice of the cake.”
Marketing Manager with SSE Airtricity Steven Hubble told the audience, “We at Airtricity are delighted to enter into a partnership with the GAA. We have reviewed our feedback from our soccer investment and to be frank we are not overly impressed with the returns.”
Hubble went on to explain. “Ok, we have had a fairly good return from the cities and more urban areas but we need to diversify our profile into the more rural areas. That’s why we decided to team up with the GAA. I came up with the Culchie initiative. The GAA has a strong base in rural Ireland and we want to tap into that.”
He went on to outline.” We plan a whole new approach to the Gaelic scene in Rural Ireland. On our agenda is a complete facelift for rural clubs and competitions. These include sponsorship deals with clubs which agreed to a simple name-change. We have already signed up SSE Airtricity St Colmcilles (Meath) and SSE Airtricity Na Piarsaigh (Cork) GAA Club.”
Sam Maguire also to be renamed
Meanwhile in Ireland Sports Department also understands that the GAA new sponsorship deal includes a dramatic name change for both the Sam Maguire and the Liam McCarthy cups.
The finals will still take place in Dublin in the former Croke Park.
Going forward the Championships will be known as the SSE Airtricity Played with Sticks and the SSE Airtricity Played without Sticks Championships.