Supporting Opinion

What’s in a name when it comes to sports arenas?

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When you think of the hallowed old sporting venues around these islands, your mind immediately turns to Croke Park or Lansdowne Road or Pearse Stadium or even Anfield or Old Trafford. Imagine is your weekly sporting pilgrimage was to the Completely-Suzuki Stadium, home of English Football League One side Cheltenham Town FC.

And if you are a regular visitor, you might choose to watch these games from the main stand – or the HGV Drivers UK Stand as it is officially known. Alternatively on the other side, there is the Colin Farmer Stand called after a former club vice-chairman – sponsored by JM Weston Construction – or the Hazlewoods Stand behind one of the goals.

Swiss side Young Boys play at the Wankdorf Stadium; Stoke City play at the Bet365 Stadium; Crawley Town are at the Checkatrade Stadium; Oldham’s famous old Boundary Park is now Park; York City played at KitKat Crescent for five long seasons back in the noughties.

Southend United had a rapid reconsideration after announcing – in a blaze of publicity – that they had renamed their West Stand as the Gilbert and Rose West Stand. Gilbert and West are a local firm on auctioneers – but when you read it altogether you can’t help but think of the wife of Fred instead.

On the other side the Atlantic, the Colorado Rapids soccer team play at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; the Louisville Cardinals play their basketball at the KFC Yum! Centre and the New Orleans Pelicans play theirs at the Smoothie King Center, and the Chicago White Sox play baseball at the Guaranteed Rate Field

Closer to home, Drogheda United officially play at United Park – but along the way it’s been Hunky Dory’s Park, Head in the Game Park and O2 Park.

Of course in the annals of sports sponsorship, you’d struggle to trump the Kentucky Fried Chicken League of Ireland – unless you were playing for the Papa John’s EFL Trophy (formerly the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy) or the Milk Cup/Coca Cola Cup/Worthington Cup/Carling Cup/Littlewoods Challenge Cup/Capital One Cup, or now the Carabao Cup.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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