Munster CEO Ian Flanagan has confirmed that “serious conversations” have taken place regarding the potential naming rights for Thomond Park.
The famous Limerick rugby ground has long been earmarked for naming sponsorship and although this was met with resistance during the southern province’s heyday in the 2000s, there is a growing understanding and acceptance that this needs to be established in order to generate more revenue.
The diversifying of revenue streams and moving away from an over-reliance on matchday income is a key goal for Flanagan who became just the second CEO of Munster Rugby last September when he took over from the late Garrett Fitzgerald.
In fact, all provinces and rugby teams will be looking to generate revenue from other sources as the cancellation of matches has caused a financial crisis in the global game.
Flanagan spoke to the media on Thursday where he outlined that some serious conversations have taken place with potential suitors regarding the naming rights of Thomond Park.
Serious Conversations For Thomond Park Naming Rights
“There are probably two or three relatively serious conversations underway,” Flanagan said.
“They have largely been put on pause. We’ll pick them up when it’s the right time to do that. Obviously, in a process like this, there is commercial sensitivity and every company has gone through this in a way which will change probably their revenues. And in most cases that change won’t be a positive change.”
Although conversations have taken place, significant movement towards the establishment of naming rights looks like it will take some time as interested parties will want to experience a proper matchday experience.
This won’t happen until supporters are allowed back into the Limerick venue at full capacity which would be at the end of 2020 at the earliest.
“As I’m sure everyone will understand, as part of a process like this, potentially interested parties would always come and see the stadium on match-day and see a big game and really understand what makes Thomond Park special, and experience it viscerally themselves, in person, the noise, the atmosphere.
“And none of that is possible in the current environment. That is a very important part of the process when you are talking about commercial deals and agreements. By necessity, some of those conversions are significantly on hold, but we will pick them up when it is the right time to do so later in the year. Because it is a big focus for us and we think securing the right partner will not just help in terms of the overall revenues, but we also hope and we are targeting partners, that we hope will have the ability to give us things other than money and to be able to help Munster to grow internationally especially.
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“So it’s not a straightforward conversation and it’s not purely based on is there a company with money to do a deal. There are significant other considerations, but it is a big focus for myself and it’s a big focus for the commercial team.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Flanagan also spoke about the anti-doping violation committed by James Cronin which you can read here.