A Different View with Dave O’Connell
Given that the league itself once carried the words Kentucky Fried Chicken in its title, nobody should be too surprised to find that there’s a League of Ireland team which plays its home game at a place called Hunky Dory Park.
The irony is that everything is far from Hunky Dory for Drogheda United even if the sponsorship presumably comes in the guise of crisp ten euro notes.
There must be something in the air in that part of the world, because Longford Town are at Flancare Park and Monaghan Town are at Century Homes Park – and the GAA is putting a toe into this water as well.
Cavan sold its soul to a building suppliers and renamed their famous old ground as Kingspan Breffni Park, Mayo added Elvery’s onto the top line of their county ground at McHale Park – and of course the FAI and IRFU dropped Lansdowne Road and all of its history like a hot potato for an insurance pay-out.
But they’re not the only clubs to sell their name for a few pieces of silver – and if anything, when it comes to cashing in our chips (or crisps), we’re well behind the best of them.
Take David Beckham’s old LA Galaxy team, home these days to Robbie Keane, who now play at the StubHub Center – and that’s actually a step up from their old branding of Home Depot Center, which sounded like you could do your DIY shopping during a break in play.
And – not for the first time, when it comes to matters of subtlety or taste – the USA knows no bounds with its stadium branding.
The home ground of FC Dallas is Pizza Hut Park (affectionately known to one and all as the Oven); their MLS rivals, the Colorado Rapids, play at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and the Phoenix Coyotes ice hockey team hang at the Jobing.com Arena.
The hockey hard men of the Nashville Predators must have been delighted when their venue was renamed the Bridgestone Arena – not that there was anything wrong with the Gaylord Entertainment Center either.
And the rest of the world isn’t behind the door either, if there’s a few bob to be had from a name change – just as long as the income outweighs the embarrassment.
German club FC Nurenberg play at Easy Credit Stadion – and there’s a team in Austria who would clearly sell their soul for cash. At least that’s what calling your team Cashpoint SC Rheindorf Altach and playing at the Cashpoint Arena would suggest.
Closer to home, York City play at KitKat Crescent – if it doesn’t have a bar, that would take the biscuit – and English Unibond League club Witton Albion are at the Bargain Booze Stadium, which presumably eases the pain of heavy home defeats.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.