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Could revamped Windsor Park become the Tayto Stadium?

By Laura Abernethy

Published 13/10/2015

The Tayto mascot
The Tayto mascot
Irish FA Chief Executive Patrick Nelson at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park

It's crunch time for Windsor Park as football chiefs are refusing to rule out a stadium naming rights deal with Ulster snacks company Tayto. And it could mean that Windsor Park would be named the Tayto National Stadium.

The Irish Football Association could be set to make a packet from Tayto if the tasty deal goes through - as stadium naming rights are often worth millions.

IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson said the organisation is still looking for a partner but would neither confirm nor deny rumours that south Belfast ground will be renamed after the snack.

As the £28m renovation of the new 's-Tayto the art' facility comes to an end, the IFA said it is looking for a "credible, appropriate, long-term commercial partner" who would see their name up in lights at the new 20,000-seat ground.

The ground was named Windsor Park after the area in which it was built when it was opened in 1905. But the traditional name could change when the work is completed in 2016.

Last year, Ulster rugby signed a 10-year contract with building materials company Kingspan. Ravenhill will be known as the Kingspan stadium until 2024.

It is understood that the IFA could commit to a similar deal.

Insurance firm Aviva became a household name after it paid an estimated €40m (£29m) for the naming rights of the new venue at Lansdowne Road in Dublin. The deal will also last for 10 years.

The home of Irish Rugby, and the Republic of Ireland's football team, was demolished in 2007 for a new 51,700 stadium.

Tayto - the Armagh firmed based at Tandragee castle - produces Northern Ireland's best-selling brand of crisp and is the third biggest brand of crisps and snacks in the UK. It has produced crisps and snacks since 1956.

As well as their famous yellow cheese and onion packets, the company owns the Golden Wonder, Ringos, Mr Porky and Real Crisp brands.

It employs more than 1,400 people with a £150m turnover.

When asked if Tayto was the sort of firm the IFA was looking to attract, Mr Nelson said: "Like any sponsorship deal you have to look at any corporation and ask can they get their business objectives achieved through a deal with football or whatever.

"We want to sign somebody for all of our deals where we can deliver something for them and have a partnership."

IFA Chairman Gerry Mallon previously told the Belfast Telegraph: "There is a reason why sports organisations do these things and we at the IFA would be failing in our duty if we didn't maximise the potential for revenue. Any money that we make is re-invested in football in Northern Ireland and we have ambitious plans to develop football in Northern Ireland."

He added: "It will be the 'something' stadium at Windsor Park."

"There will always be traditionalists, but not everyone who supports Northern Ireland is emotionally attached to Windsor Park.

"And it is a reality of commercial life that there is potentially very major value attached to the naming rights."

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