The Cork County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has sealed a 10-year naming rights deal for Páirc Uí Chaoimh with Irish supermarket chain SuperValu, following a compromise agreement over the new moniker of the stadium.
The announcement of the contract today (Wednesday) comes after Cork GAA put the proposed deal on hold earlier this month following a backlash against the news. The Irish Examiner initially reported that an agreement was in the works to rename one of the country’s most prominent Gaelic games venues.
A five-year deal, worth a reported €250,000 (£213,000/$271,000) per year, was said to have been on the table to rename the stadium SuperValu Páirc. Páirc Uí Chaoimh has held its current moniker since opening in 1976. It is named after Pádraig Ó Caoimh, the 35-year GAA director general who oversaw a period of great reform for the governing body, including an extensive redevelopment of the iconic Croke Park.
The removal of the Caoimh name had provoked strong opposition, but in today’s announcement, Cork GAA said the stadium is now set to be renamed SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The deal is set to be finalised at a special meeting of delegates to the Cork County Board on Thursday.
The historic grounds underwent an extensive renovation worth close to €100m before reopening at its current 45,000-capacity in 2017. Naming rights for the stadium are part of a broader commercial strategy by Cork GAA which is supported by its One Cork initiative. This aims to put Cork GAA on a stable financial footing to help develop the game at both local and county level.
Financial terms of the SuperValu deal were not disclosed, but the Examiner said that with subsidiary stadium sponsorship from three other companies agreed – Boston Scientific, Statkraft and PepsiCo – the expectation is that the new deals should secure the stadium over €5m.
As well as playing host to Cork GAA games, SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh is a leading concert venue in Ireland, with Bruce Springsteen set to take to the stage this summer. However, the stadium’s debt reportedly remains over €30m, mainly due to no concerts being staged last year.
Cork GAA CEO, Kevin O’Donovan, said: “We are very excited to embark on a new journey with our partners in SuperValu, a retailer that has community and family at its core. We are confident that they will bring these shared values to the future of the home of Cork GAA.
“The realisation of naming rights is another step in the right direction and shows the value that the Cork GAA brand retains as we continue to expand our commercial model in support of our games. As part of this process, we continue to engage with members of the O’Caoimh family and keep them informed of developments.”
SuperValu is part of the Musgrave Group, Ireland’s leading food retail, wholesale, and foodservice company. With a network of 222 community-based stores across the country, SuperValu is already a major supporter of the GAA locally and nationally.
SuperValu sponsors the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, along with the Cork Senior Ladies Football Team and clubs in every community around the country. The Group’s headquarters have been located in Cork since their founding by the Musgrave family 148 years ago.
SuperValu managing director, Ian Allen, said: “This partnership is a natural fit for SuperValu which, like the GAA, is at the heart of communities across Ireland. SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh is an iconic Cork location with nationwide reach, attracting national audiences to the exciting matches, and entertainment on offer.
“SuperValu has acquired the naming rights to SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh for 10 years, building further on our commitment to community sponsorships and our dedication to the GAA. We and our retailers are immensely proud to support GAA clubs right around the country and to sponsor the Cork Ladies Gaelic Football Team and the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.”