'It’s An Iconic Stadium, So Special In The Heart Of The GAA I Could Never See That Happening'

'It’s An Iconic Stadium, So Special In The Heart Of The GAA I Could Never See That Happening'

As he heads for the Croke Park exit door, Páraic Duffy says that one stream of commercial income which the GAA will not pursue is the sale of naming rights for Croke Park.

"That’ll never be sold," Duffy said in an interview with RTÉ Sport's Peter Sweeney.

"You wouldn’t want to do that - it’s an iconic stadium and it’s just so special in the heart of the GAA I could never see that happening. Ever."

It would certainly be strange to see and hear Samsung Croke Park or Coca-Cola Croke Park but it would undoubtedly be lucrative for the association. Aviva reportedly paid €40 million for the rights to have its name on Lansdowne Road.

After ten years as Director General of the GAA, Duffy's time in the role will be most remembered for the sale of TV rights to Sky Sports.

That happened in 2014 when Sky bought exclusive rights to 14 games. Just a year earlier, speaking to Michael Moynihan for his book 'GAAconomics: The Secret Life of Money in the GAA', Duffy had said it would never happen.

With our TV rights we’re constrained, rightly, because we wouldn’t get away with selling the rights to the championship to Sky Sports or somebody like that, even though those organisations have expressed an interest. With us, we start from this point – how can we best promote the games and make them available to the maximum number of people? It’s after those criteria are addressed that we think about maximising the revenue from those.


Obviously, Duffy will not have a major say in future Croke Park decisions - Liam Sheedy and GAA Finance Director Tom Ryan are said to be favourites to succeed the Monaghan school teacher - but if the GAA can change its mind regarding the sale of rights to a subscription broadcaster, surely it could also do so with the sale of naming rights for its premier venue.

Duffy has always been unashamed when speaking about the GAA's commercial revenues, an aspect of the association about which many appear bashful.

"Money is a reality," he told RTÉ.

"We have to realise that the GAA has to be financially strong because if we want to develop our facilities, if we want to put in more coaches, all of those things, we can’t stand still."

Will his successor remain unmoved on the matter of naming rights for Croke Park?

Picture credit; Pat Murphy/ SPORTSFILE

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PJ Browne
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