Thursday, 14th May 2020: Today, Aviva Stadium, home to Ireland’s football and rugby teams, host to major international sports events, concerts and conferences marks 10 years from its first opening on 14th May 2010.
A world class 50,000-seater venue, Aviva Stadium opened in May 2010 replacing Lansdowne Road, then the world’s oldest operating international stadium. The redevelopment project was a joint initiative of the FAI and IRFU funded in part by the Irish Government. Aviva Ireland agreeing to come on board as naming rights sponsor in 2009 in a landmark deal was also key in enabling the project to be completed on time and on budget.
As well as being home to Ireland’s men’s football and rugby teams, Aviva Stadium has played host to the 2011 UEFA Europa League Final, the 2013 Heineken Cup Final as well as the Emerald Isle Classic American Football Game between Navy and Notre Dame in 2012.
Aviva Stadium should be in the final stages of preparations for four games of the 2020 UEFA European Championships it was due to host in June. Yet like venues right around the world, Aviva Stadium has been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following on from the cancellation of the Ireland v Italy fixture in the Guinness Six Nations on March 7th, Aviva Stadium immediately offered its facilities to Government in the fight against Covid-19. The Defence Forces are now on site with an area of the stadium being used as a community testing centre which will help with the delivery of the government’s 100,000 weekly testing target.
Aviva Stadium has also been working closely with the FAI, the IRFU and other world class venues to develop the return to sport protocols initially to enable games to be held behind closed doors once public health guidelines permit.
Martin Murphy, Stadium Director said: “It may not be the 10-year anniversary we had anticipated at the start of the year. We are however very conscious of the stadium’s heritage. Aviva Stadium is built on greatness and the redevelopment into the world class venue we are today would not have been possible without the support of the Irish people through Government investment. We are pleased to be able to support the country’s efforts during these unprecedented times. We have hosted some classic sporting moments at Aviva Stadium, and we look forward too many more. To that end we are working very closely with our stakeholders at the FAI and the IRFU and with leading sports venues around the world to ensure that Aviva Stadium is ready and able to host games in whatever format just as soon as public health guidelines allow.”
Brian O’Neill, Head of Communications, Brand, Sponsorship at Aviva Ireland, said: “Aviva Stadium is an iconic Irish venue and one of the world’s great stadia. Our relationship with the stadium extends as far back as 2010, and we are delighted to have been a part of the Aviva Stadium story for the last ten years. We are also part of its future having extended our partnership to 2025 back in 2018. Whilst we look forward, like so many, to the return of sporting action in Aviva Stadium, we are proud of its contribution to Ireland’s Covid-19 response. The stadium has always been a pillar in Irish society, so hosting community Covid-19 testing and lighting up of the stadium in the HSE colours each Friday night to mark the incredible contribution of so many on the frontline to this public health emergency is a fitting way to help continue the impact it has on communities in Ireland.”
Since 2010 over 7 million fans have attended games and concerts at Aviva Stadium across 192 events since July 2010. Aviva Stadium has hosted 88 rugby matches, 90 football matches and 14 concerts in that time.