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Dublin's new stadium has two names

Last night the Irish soccer team played its first game at the new stadium built for soccer and rugby. The new stadium is called the Aviva Stadium because the naming rights were bought by the Aviva insurance company.

I know this is not new to any of you sports fans in America as most of the new sporting arenas have made similar deals. My own Mets traded Shea Stadium – named for Irish-American Bill Shea whose hard-ball tactics with Major League Baseball brought the Mets to life - for the stomach-churning Citi Field - named for one of the bail-outest of banks.

What makes the Aviva deal interesting is that it will not officially be the Aviva Stadium always. No, the money-grubbing Football Association of Ireland (the Irish soccer authorities) have done a deal with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to bring the Europa League final to Dublin next May. The game will be played in the FAI's new stadium, but the stadium will be called the Dublin Arena for that one game.

When I first heard this I thought, "Great! Someone with integrity and clout calling a halt to this 'naming rights' nonsense. Now to America with the same campaign."

Only that's not what's going on here. No, what you have is the bigger money-grubbing body telling the smaller money-grubbers, "Yes, we will deign to bring our (second-rate) European soccer final to your city, but we will not be caught dead in anything called Aviva. Why, they're not even one of our official sponsors."

And that's what happened. UEFA forced the FAI to change the name of the stadium for that one game because Aviva is not one of UEFA's official sponsors. Where's my gun?

It would be like the Olymipcs or World Cup going to America and forcing the money-grubbing Mets to change the name on their new baseball stadium to suit the Olympics or FIFA's sponsorship deals. {I'm sure the Mets would do it so long as the money-grubbing Mets and money-grubbing Citibank were monetarily satisfied.}

Oh, and although this name change is only for one game, it's a permanent change on UEFA's web site where the name is now and ever shall be the Dublin Arena. So two official names for the new stadium.

Thankfully the rail authorities have refused to play ball as the DART stop for the new stadium still has only the old Lansdowne Road. Their own attempts at money-grubbing apparently thwarted.

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