The tourism business is a fast moving one and demands continual hitting of the refresh button in order for venues to remain at the top of their game.
That is what the Aviva Stadium has done this week with the relaunch of the Aviva Stadium Tour.
It will provide fans with a behind the scenes experience of the home of Irish rugby and football and the scene of some of the most iconic moments in Irish sport.
In a world of virtual simulation, this will be a real-life experience of what match day is like for our international football and rugby players.
Those of us who work in sport get to see the inner workings in a way that few are privileged to. There is still a frisson of excitement that comes from looking out over the pitch at the Aviva, Croke Park or any other of our world-class venues and the value of extending that ‘insider’ feeling is of real value.
The Aviva Stadium opened in May 2010 replacing Lansdowne Road, one of the world’s oldest stadiums. At the time it was said that we would never accept calling the stadium by its new name but that proved to be a miscalculation of our appetite for change and ‘The Aviva’s’ entry into the sporting vernacular was sufficiently embedded to encourage the brand to re-invest for another five years last year.
Visitors on the tour will be able to delve into the rich history of Lansdowne Road from 1872 until the present day with impressive large-scale graphics depicting some of the most memorable and iconic international sporting moments that have taken place at the stadium.
The new stadium tour also includes a behind-the-scenes look into the player’s entrance, the press room, the media centre and photographer’s room as well as allowing visitors time in the dressing rooms.
Visitors will also walk down the tunnel used by the players to enter the pitch, enjoy photography opportunities pitch side as well as visit the stadium’s 5th floor, home to some of the best views in Dublin.
It is very much a tour of the reality of the stadium and comes without the interactive technological innovations you would see in the Epic Museum but it is richer for that, making things real rather than imagined.
“The Aviva Stadium is a world class international facility that has played host to some of the biggest days in Irish sport,” said Martin Murphy, Stadium Director.
“We are delighted that the new tour will allow visitors to relive some of these iconic moments through an immersive and one of a kind experience, but also experience first-hand the inner workings of the stadium and what it is like for Ireland’s top football and rugby internationals to play at the Aviva.”
“Playing for your country is a privilege and to do so in front of your home fans is particularly special,” added Kevin Doyle who was on hand for the launch alongside Gordon D’Arcy.
“I have great memories of both Lansdowne Road and the Aviva Stadium. There is always a sense of history about the place and yet it is a first-class stadium to play in. I am delighted that the new Tour has sought to capture some of Irish football’s greatest moments whilst also allowing visitors unrivalled access to areas of the stadium normally reserved for players.”
The next stage for the Aviva might be to build out a Legends Tour like that at Croke Park, sponsored there by Bord Gáis Energy, where you have the added bonus of being brought around by one of the players that made the history you are soaking up.
Image Credit: James Crombie, Inpho.ie