O2 agrees to pay €25m for naming rights to the Point


MOBILE PHONE company O2 has agreed to pay €25 million for the naming rights of the revamped Point in Dublin's docklands. This makes it one of Ireland's biggest-ever sponsorship deals.

Ireland's second-biggest mobile phone operator has signed a 10- year deal with Live Nation and businessman Harry Crosbie to sponsor the venue, which will be known as The O2.

The sponsorship agreement was announced on Wednesday, but no value or time span was placed on the agreement.

As a result of its deal 10-15 per cent of tickets for concerts will be made available to O2's 1.6 million subscribers here up to 48 hours in advance of going on general sale.

O2 mobile customers will also get fast-track access to the facility on the night of gigs and have exclusive use of two of the 14 bars in the Point.

The mobile phone company also plans to make music content from Live Nation events around the world available to its subscribers.

Los Angeles-based Live Nation is one of the biggest concert promoters and music venue operators globally. Its acts include U2, Madonna and the Rolling Stones.

The Point is due to reopen in December following a €80 million refurbishment. It will have a maximum capacity of 13,000, through a mix of seats and standing. This is about 53 per cent more than the old building could hold.

It is expected to host 150 events a year and cater for two million spectators.

The Point's stage and other facilities has also been given a major overhaul and the new venue should be able to host more technologically elaborate concerts in the future.

Dublin is just one of a number of cities in Europe where O2 has the naming rights to large music venues.

It already operates The O2 in London - at the former Millennium Dome - and the O2 Arena in Prague. O2 World will launch in Berlin later this year.

The mobile company's decision to become the naming sponsor of the Point rules it out as a potential bidder for branding rights at the refurbished Lansdowne Road.

The mobile company was seen as a possible bidder for these rights, given its sponsorship of the Irish rugby team.

O2 has refocused its marketing strategy in recent times, pulling the plug on its golf sponsorship.