Sponsorship & Marketing

Connacht’s Dexcom deal ‘enables’ Sportsground redevelopment

Featured image credit: Connacht Rugby

United Rugby Championship (URC) club Connacht has agreed a historic stadium naming rights deal with US medical company Dexcom which it states will be a “critical enabler” of the redevelopment of The Sportsground.

As part of the 12-year deal announced today (Friday), The Sportsground in Galway, Ireland will become known as Dexcom Stadium, effective immediately. The announcement comes on the day Dexcom breaks ground on a major manufacturing facility in Athenry – the company’s first in Europe – with the creation of over 1,000 jobs for the province.

Connacht Rugby has also announced that construction on a new High-Performance Centre (HPC) and North Stand at the stadium will both begin in the coming months. Works on the HPC will begin in March, with the North Stand following at the end of the current season.

The new Connacht Rugby HPC is expected to be completed by March 2025. The new North Stand will replace the existing Clan Terrace and will feature state-of-the-art facilities for all match attendees. Construction will begin this summer after the demolition of the Clan Terrace and Clubhouse, and is expected to be completed during the 2025-26 season.

Construction of the next two phases of the stadium project will be undertaken by Conack Construction, which has been appointed following an extensive tender process. Willie Ruane, CEO of Connacht Rugby, said: “Firstly, a naming rights partner is absolutely critical to the delivery of our vision to redevelop the Sportsground into a fit-for-purpose modern stadium, and in Dexcom we have found the perfect partners in helping to make that vision a reality.

“Dexcom’s commitment to the West of Ireland, through the creation of over 1,000 jobs in Athenry speaks volumes of their eagerness to invest in this part of the world, and we look forward to working together well into the future.

“Secondly, we are delighted to update our many supporters about the next steps in our stadium redevelopment. and after a lot of work behind the scenes we are now ready to proceed with the next steps in bringing the new Dexcom Stadium to life.”

Headquartered in San Diego, Dexcom is a world-leader in producing and distributing continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems for the management of diabetes. Barry Regan, executive vice-president of operations at Dexcom, said: “We see this partnership having a great alignment with our goals of inspiring people with diabetes, including those who currently play sports, want to pursue sports, or participate in physical activities, to not let diabetes hold them back.

“It is also a way for us to demonstrate our commitment to becoming part of the economic success of Ireland’s Western region, as a whole. We are coming into Athenry and looking to attract a workforce from across the region.”

The Dexcom deal marks the first naming rights sponsor for a stadium that opened in 1927. Connacht secured full planning permission for the redevelopment of the Sportsground in May 2019, stating at the time that the project was now “shovel ready”.

The initial redevelopment plans were launched following an arrangement reached between the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) and the freehold owners of the Sportsground, the Galway Agricultural and Sports Society, with respect to a shared vision for the future of the stadium.

Connacht submitted a planning application to Galway City Council for the redevelopment in December 2018 after first revealing the plans in October. At that time, the project had a price tag of €30m (£25.7m/$32.6m) for a full redevelopment of the stadium, expanding capacity from 8,000 to 12,000, as well as the development of a HPC.

However, the cost has since jumped to over €40m. The project was hit by the pandemic, but Ruane told the Irish Examiner that the extra time has actually allowed the club to increase financing, with over €6m set aside from its share of CVC Capital Partners’ investment in the Six Nations.

While the Dexcom deal will see annual payments spread over the next 12 years, Ruane said it has granted the club greater stability. He added: “It is a critical enabler of the whole project for us. We are delighted that we have managed to develop a relationship with Dexcom and that we have them as partners going forward.

“We are very proud to be associated with them. The product they make is a product which affects lives and we have members of staff who use that product and it has transformed how they manage diabetes in their lives.”