Throwback Thursday – Kingspan Stadium

Five years ago this week we reported on the renaming of Ulster Rugby’s home from Ravenhill to the Kingspan Stadium.

Ulster Rugby Kingspan 2Ulster Rugby has signed a 10-year agreement with the Kingspan Group, the world’s leading provider of sustainable building materials, for the naming rights to what will now be called Kingspan Stadium.  Since it first opened in 1923 it has been known as Ravenhill Stadium.

The agreement will result in significant investment for the game of rugby at all levels within the Province, though a financial figure on what that investment will be has not been made public.

Even though the ground is owned by the IRFU, this is considered in the same way as all other sponsorship income and will be channelled exclusively towards the sport in Ulster.

A major benefit is that it can be spent from the current account, without the need to go towards the funding of the construction of the stadium.  This was the case with the Aviva Stadium where the payment of €44 million spread over 10 equal years was bought by a third party investment group for €35 million giving a cash lump sum at the beginning.

Funding

In 2012, Ulster Rugby secured £16.5 million of funding from the Northern Ireland Executive for the redevelopment of the ground. Three new stands were built raising capacity from 11,400 to 18,000.

There was a clause in the agreement around that funding that there would be no objection to an ‘appropriate brand’ not out of sync with Government policy on health and fitness and Kingspan products were widely used in the redevelopment.

It is anticipated that the stadium will form part of an Irish bid to host the Rugby Union World Cup in 2023, which would be in the ninth year of the deal.  It hosted two matches as part of previous World Cups in 1991 and 1999.

The stadium hosts the Ulster Rugby team’s professional training base, consisting of a 7,000 square foot gym, meeting rooms and medical facilities. Kingspan Stadium plays host to at least 15 Ulster Rugby matches a season and up to 30 schools and club rugby activities – from under 10 Mini Rugby to the Senior Cup Final.

Naming

This is the third major rugby stadium naming announcement in the last three weeks with BT Sport attaching its name to the Cardiff Arms Park and Murrayfield Stadiums in Cardiff and Edinburgh respectively.

It is also the third such deal in Irish Rugby which has led the way in this commercialisation of assets with the Aviva Stadium in 2009 and more recently Irish Independent Park in Cork, the sometime base of Munster.

It is believed that Leinster will actively seek a naming rights partner once the redevelopment of the RDS Showgrounds gets underway shortly.

Kingspan, whose global headquarters are in Kingscourt, County Cavan, has been a sponsor of Ulster Rugby since 1999.

Base

The stadium hosts the Ulster Rugby team’s professional training base, consisting of a 7,000 square foot gym, meeting rooms and medical facilities. Kingspan Stadium plays host to at least 15 Ulster Rugby matches a season and up to 30 schools and club rugby activities – from under 10 Mini Rugby to the Senior Cup Final.

“We are delighted to have extended our partnership with Kingspan, one of Ulster’s most successful international companies, and to have secured a stadium naming rights partner for the first time,” said Ulster Rugby CEO Shane Logan

“This is a landmark deal and one that will have considerable benefits for all of rugby in Ulster.”

“Both Ulster Rugby and Kingspan are successful globally recognised brands within their respective fields,” added Pat Freeman, Managing Director of Kingspan Environmental.

Partner

 Ulster Rugby 3“We have been a partner of Ulster Rugby for 15 years and have witnessed the tremendous growth of rugby in the Province. We have also had extensive input into the redevelopment of the stadium through our high-performance technologies.”

“We are delighted to significantly extend our already strong association with Ulster Rugby by putting our name to such a wonderful sporting venue and are proud that the home of Ulster Rugby will be now known as Kingspan Stadium.”

Ulster Rugby is a full member of the Sport for Business community. Discover more about membership here.

 



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