'Croke Park is special - its name is not for sale'
Published 26/11/2016 | 02:30
The GAA will continue to spurn potential income of €3m a year by not selling the naming rights to Croke Park.
Peter McKenna, Stadium and Commercial Director, said that as far he was concerned "it just isn't the right thing to do in a ground with as much history and tradition as Croke Park".
The IRFU receives €4m per annum from Aviva for the Lansdowne Road naming rights, prompting speculation that the GAA would do the same.
"Personally, I would not favour it. Croke Park is Croke Park. It's rich in history and tradition and we should keep it that way. Of course, there's money to be had but I think you're making a big jump into a commercial environment.
"There is something pure and elegant about Croke Park as it is. This is a facility which owed a lot of money at one stage but we have managed to make it debt-free without going too far down the commercial route.
"There is a real affinity among the public with Croke Park. You'd lose a lot of that if it were just a named park," said Mr McKenna in an exclusive interview with the Irish Independent.
He is confident the GAA could negotiate a €30m package over 10 years, €10m lower than Aviva's deal in Lansdowne Road.
"Aviva gets more international exposure and the market is more depressed now than when that deal was done," said Mr McKenna.
While several GAA grounds around the country have had naming rights sold and Cork county board is actively pursuing a deal for the redeveloped Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Mr McKenna says that Croke Park is in a different category.