Insurance company Aviva is marking the 10-year anniversary of the official opening of the Aviva Stadium on Lansdowne Road. Since its rebuild, the 51,700-seater stadium has played host to 7.2 million fans at rugby, football, concerts, community and cultural events. Since 2010, the stadium has hosted 88 rugby matches, 90 football matches and 14 concerts.
With a seating capacity of 51,700, the new stadium opened in May 2010. The redevelopment project was a joint initiative of the FAI and IRFU funded in part by the Irish Government. Aviva Ireland agreed to come on board as naming rights sponsor in 2009 in a deal that also proved key in enabling the project to be completed on time and on budget.
In an interview with The Irish Times, stadium director Martin Murphy was asked how long can it survive as a functioning business without supporters? “Not very long,” Murphy replied. “It’s not sustainable indefinitely but I don’t know when the crisis will really hit us. We hope to get over the next few months and see where we are going.”
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Currently, the Defence Forces are on-site providing Covid-19 testing facilities for 400 people daily. It costs €5 million a year to keep the Aviva “ticking over”. “We do have some reserves but we are burning through them.” Murphy was a captain during 19 years service in the Army before joining the IRFU as director of corporate affairs and operations.
He said that even when the stadium is empty it still costs a phenomenal amount of money to keep it running, including security, pitch maintenance, rates of €900,000 and the cost of insurance before a door is opened. There are staff costs on top of that. Like any business with sizeable overheads, the national football and rugby ground is running out of time.
The current Aviva naming rights contract runs until 2025.
Aviva has produced a film marking the stadium’s 10 years, click here to watch
Pictured is Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette in action against Chelsea at the Aviva in 2018
PHOTO: JOE CUNNINGHAM