What's in a name for INEC?
WE’VE HAD the Aviva Stadium, the O2 and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre; now the INEC event centre in Killarney is hoping to attract a naming rights partner.
This is part of a plan to help fund a major €2 million upgrade of the popular Kerry venue, its managing director Patrick O’Donoghue told me this week.
O’Donoghue’s family owns the INEC and the neighbouring Gleneagle and Brehon hotels. They are planning an overall €6 million upgrade of the venues. “Our main aim is to release the money back into the business to enhance the customer facilities,” O’Donoghue said.
He was coy about how much INEC might net for the naming rights, saying only that it would be a six-figure annual sum. Any contract would be for a minimum five years. “In the past couple of months, we’ve had interest from a couple of parties and hopefully we can get something done in the new year,” O’Donoghue said.
The three venues are part of Gleneagle Hotel (Killarney) Ltd, where latest accounts show it made a loss of €453,000 in 2010.
O’Donoghue said trading had improved since then with the company around break-even in 2011 and “expecting to be profitable” this year.
In addition to having their name on the venue and all marketing and ticketing materials, the rights holder would enjoy other perks including priority ticketing, advance access and discounts for various shows. Further benefits include residential opportunities on site with the adjoining Gleneagle and Brehon hotels.
The INEC hosted 245,000 people in 2011 and O’Donoghue’s plan is to increase this by 20 per cent by 2013. It has a capacity of up to 3,800 for concerts.
Its hosts about 250 events a year and shows in the pipeline include the Script, Pet Shop Boys, Madness, Kenny Rogers, Keith Barry, Christy Moore and comedian Pat Shortt.
It is also trialing live streaming of gigs on the web. “We’re dipping our toes in the water. We feel there’s a lot of potential there for us.”