The Developing Trend Of Selling naming Rights To Commercial Interests.
A common money maker for sporting clubs these days is to sell the naming rights of their home ground - the JJB, Reebok Stadium, Walkers Stadium. It seems the Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company (IRFU and the FAI) are going down this route. The chairman, Philip Browne, announced at a media briefing in September 2007 that the US specialist company Wasserman Media Group (WMG) had been appointed to evaluate and ultimately market the naming rights for the new stadium. This weekend it was announced that Dublin’s historic Point Theatre has been renamed The O2.
A really silly sample of this trend is Phoenix Park railway Station:
Phoenix Park railway station is a railway station in Dublin, Ireland. It is owned by Coras Iompair Éireann and operated by Iarnrod Éireann. It opened on 21 January 2008.
The station is on the Dublin - Sligo railway line (see Rail transport in Ireland), located between Ashtown railway station and Castleknock railway station. The station is adjacent to the Navan Road (the N3 road), between the roundabout at the junction of Castleknock Road and Ashtown Road and the roundabout at the junction of Auburn Avenue and New Dunsink Lane. The station was built by the developers of the Phoenix Park Racecourse Apartments (built, as their name implies on the site of the old Phoenix Park racecourse) although the station itself is neither on the grounds of the former racecourse nor the Phoenix Park proper. The Tourist Board have complained because they are being contacted by some really confused visitors to ireland.
Oh Iarnrod Eireann, ‘tis truly sublime,
This spanking new station so proud and so tall.
Of all of the stations I’ve seen in my time,
‘Tis truly the loveliest I can recall.
‘Twixt dear Castleknock and young Ashtown so fair,
Its welcoming light twinkles bright in the dark.
But why, people ask with a hint of despair,
Did you come up with calling this stop “Phoenix Park?”
The tourists who yearn for the wide open spaces
Alight there expecting an ocean of green.
Imagine the puzzlement etched on their faces,
When a tree or a plant is nowhere to be seen!
Instead there’s a road bearing constant loud traffic,
A footbridge that leads to a housing estate.
The tourist not schooled in this town’s geographic,
Looks this way and that at the new station gate.
Oh Iarnrod Eireann, imagine the fury!
I’m sure that one day someone’s going to explode.
You might as well take them and drop them in Newry,
As leave them head-scratching beside Navan Road.
Dublin’s historic Point Theatre has been renamed The O2 and is set to open as a 13,000-seat venue following a major refurbishment by owners Live Nation and Irish property developer Harry Crosbie.
The move follows a deal between the venue’s owners and Telefonica O2 Ireland.
Discussing the re-branding of the theatre that has featured landmark concerts by acts including U2 and Def Leppard, Live Nation Ireland chief executive Mike Adamson says, "O2’s significant cash infusion in the venue will help to ensure that we attract the biggest musical artists and provide fans with the best live music experience possible. This partnership harnesses the power of O2’s 1.6m customer database in Ireland.”
The venue is expected to host as many as 150 events annually.
In other news, Live Nation has acquired a controlling interest in the Main Square Festival held in Arras, France bringing the company’s portfolio of festivals around the world to 30.
History Of Lansdowne Road
The creation of Lansdowne Road Stadium was the vision of Henry William Dunlop, an outstanding young athlete who organised the first All Ireland Athletics Championships. His vision was to create a purpose built sporting venue and this he did at Lansdowne Road where the Stadium first opened for athletics in 1872.
The original Lansdowne Road was a multi sports venue including as it did a cinder track for athletics, a cricket pitch, a croquet green, three football pitches and facilities for archery and lawn tennis. The first rugby match played at the ground was an inter provincial between Leinster and Munster in December 1876.
In 1878 Lansdowne held its first international rugby fixture. In the early 1900s the IRFU secured the lease of Lansdowne Road from the Pembroke Estate. It was at this time that a plan was conceived to change the orientation of the stadium to North/South. Originally it had run from East to West. The first stand was built in 1908.
While Dunlop had conceived Lansdowne as a multi-purpose venue the ground soon became synonymous with rugby – although even in the 1950s a crowd of 40,000 witnessed Olympic gold medallist Ronnie Delany run there in an international athletics meeting.
The most modern part of the stadium, the East Stand was built in 1983. It was during the 1980s that the Irish soccer team also made Lansdowne its home.
Lansdowne Road, which currently has a capacity of 49,000 for rugby and 36,000 when converted to an all seater stadium for major soccer matches, is the World's oldest international stadium.
Floodlights were installed in the mid 1990s.
THE HISTORY OF THE POINT DEPOT
The building was constructed in 1878 as a train depot to serve the nearby busy port.
In the late 1980s, after many years of neglect and disuse, it was bought by local developer Harry Crosbie and fitted with new balconies, offices and backstage facilities.
Before it was renovated, U2 recorded part of their 1988 album Rattle and Hum there. It was opened in 1988. Huey Lewis and the News were the first act to play there. U2 played four nights at the Point near the end of their Lovetown Tour in 1989. The December 31 concert was broadcast around the world and the show that took place the previous day became notable for Bono's prophetic comment regarding U2 having to "go away and ... and dream it all up again."
On the 19th June 1992 - Def Leppard kicked of their 7 Day Weekend Tour of Europe in the Point Depot in support of their multi million selling record Adrenalize. The show was the first time Def Leppard had brought their 'In The Round' stage show outside of America. The Stage was set in the middle of the arena and featured a revolving drum kit which could move to any point around the stage. This was also the first time any band had brought an 'in the round' stage show on an international tour. It was also the first full show the band played with new guitarist Vivian Campbell. 
In the Nineties, the Point became a familiar setting to millions of European television viewers, as it was the venue for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994, 1995, and 1997, becoming the only venue to have hosted the final three times.
The Point thus also served as the first place the dancing sensation Riverdance was performed, being in the interval act of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest.
The 1999 MTV Europe Music Awards was also held there.
Tragedy struck the theatre in the May of 1996 at a Smashing Pumpkins concert. Due to overcrowding and moshing, 17 year old fan Bernadette O'Brien was crushed to death.
David Gray's live performance video, David Gray: Live, released in 2001, was recorded at The Point in December 1999.
In 2004 punk rock ledgends The Offspring played the point to a sell out audiance.
Also in 2004, iconic popstar Britney Spears performed to a sell out crowd at what would be her last performance for three years, and before her decline in publicity. Her concert entourage was the biggest ever held at The Point.
Velvet Revolver the band made up of ex Guns n' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots members played there although there were many sound problems during there set.
Kylie Minogue made a triumphant return to the Point (after a 14 year absence) in May 2005 with her Showgirl Tour. She played six nights at the Dublin venue, just weeks before she was told she had breast cancer.
Bell X1's live album Tour De Flock was recorded at their live concert here in 2006.
Oasis have played several concerts in the Point, most recently in December, 2005, where they referred to Dublin as 'the second greatest city in the world'. Footage from one of the 2005 gigs is to be included in Oasis' upcoming rockumentary, Lord Dont Slow Me Down.
Pearl Jam opened their first European tour in six years at the Point Theatre. They were originally to play the Leeds and Reading Festivals first and then come and play at Slane Castle however Pearl Jam felt the Point was the perfect place to begin their tour. The concert gained wide radio play in the U.K and Ireland.
Celtic Woman performed their debut concert in Ireland at the Point Theatre in February 2006 following a lengthy and enormously successful North American tour. While their first performance in Ireland was technically at The Helix in Dublin (which was filmed for PBS), the Point performance marked the group's first unveiling of the theatrical show that had taken America by storm.
Tool made their second ever Irish appearance there in 2006 during their 10'000 days tour with support from Mastodon
Iron Maiden brought their Matter of life and death tour to the point with Trivium and Lauren Harris in 2006
Beyoncé recently played two dates in the Point, which closed the first leg of the 'Beyonce Experience Tour'. During both concerts, Beyoncé commented on how she loved coming to Ireland for the Irish shows, telling the audience how she 'bragged' on them to her band/crew. At the end of the second Irish show, Beyoncé cried, giving an emotional conclusion to the first leg of her tour.
Several other acts will play the Point throughout Summer 2007, before its renovation, including Keane, George Michael, and Norah Jones.
David Bowie filmed his live Reality DVD in The Point in November 2003
R.E.M. filmed and recorded their live double CD/DVD set R.E.M. Live in The Point in February 2005.
Tiësto performed in 2007 as part of his Elements of Life World Tour.
In 2007 the Irish boyband Westlife played 12 times in The Point.
The final event to take place in the venue before the refurbishment began was a boxing card, featuring local boxer Bernard Dunne on 25 August 2007.