‘Sports Marketing’ Category

Sponsoring sport’s a risky business but GAA might be the exception

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015


Ballygowan & Energise Sport Unveiled as New Official Hydration Partners of Dublin GAA

 Soccer’s in the spotlight again, but for all the wrong reasons.  As FIFA descends into corruption chaos, the aftershocks to the sport’s sponsors are catastrophic.  Soccer’s goodwill and the halo effect that attracted the brands to FIFA in the first instance is depleting rapidly as the news story takes hold.

Sponsoring sport always carries a risk, but usually when individual stars are involved – hence many brands’ preference for sporting categories rather than heroes.  Thorough risk assessment pre-signing is not just prudent it’s also pragmatic, allowing concerns and caveats to be aired at the outset.

Few sports are beyond reproach, especially as sport has now been elevated to the heady heights of God-like achievement and aspiration.  To many, clubs are like a religion to be followed and adored with passion, which is why certain clubs and sports attract such willing investors, but at what price and at what risk?

The GAA may just be the exception, as a brand and a sport that is reasonably removed from adverse publicity.  I’m not suggesting it’s squeaky clean in publicity terms, but it courts less chaos than other sporting factions.   There is still all the zeal, the pious fervour and the commitment that brands want to emulate, but with more opportunities – from local, to families, to national events – and less exposure.

And, with the smell of freshly cut grass in the air, summer is when GAA really comes into its own as the memory of the National Leagues fade into obscurity and Championship fever kicks in.

According to the Onside Industry Survey 2015, GAA is seen to offer the best ‘va


lue for money’ in terms of Irish sponsorships and this is the case for many reasons – not least of all is the relevance of GAA at local community and county level.  It could be argued that the ordinary ‘man on the street’ identifies with GAA stars more so than other sports stars, for an array of reasons, including the likelihood of seeing these players active in their local communities (not just on the telly!), recognising the level of dedication and commitment that’s required of amateur players, and an appreciation of the skill level of a truly unique sport.

Sponsorship is more than just a logo on a county jersey.  Sponsors demand more and the Championship delivers: providing players and management for media events, engaging with the sponsor’s own business and CSR initiatives; and offering exclusive competition prizes, can all be effective methods of maximising the value and impact of such a sponsorship asset. Experiential activity too has proven itself as a way of extracting additional value, using the available properties to leverage the brand in the eyes of existing and potential customers.

The digital space and access to social media channels adds a further important platform to sponsors. Building up digital content is an extremely effective method of engaging fans and reinforcing the association between brand and sponsor.

It’s important to consider some simple guidelines from the outset to maximise GAA sponsorships.  These include:

–          Undertaking a pre-sponsorship appraisal to ensure the sponsorship fits as part of an overall strategy and assess potential risks involved

–          Establishing a good relationship with all relevant stakeholders

–          Ensuring goals and objectives are outlined and agreed at the outset of the partnership

–          Creating an activity road map for the season

–          Focusing on digital elements to maximise social media and online channels

The arrests of senior FIFA officials has rocked the sporting world. Not only does this news obviously impact on the organisation itself, it will also have shocked existing sponsors to their core.

The GAA, whilst not beyond reproach is arguably in a safer position and less likely to bring your brand into disrepute than other sports which exist on a global scale yet having a risk assessment completed will make things a lot easier if crisis strikes.

The rallying cry from inter-county managers and coaches alike is Championship-focused encouragement. Tough winter training regimes and physical League encounters will have honed the players’ fitness levels but it’s the coming months that will define the teams and the GAA public can’t wait!  Shouldn’t your brand be part of the excitement?

Launch of ‘Paralympic Talent Search – supported by Cadbury’

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012


Today saw the announcement of a major Paralympic Talent Search event to be held later this month.  Just a few short weeks after the successes of London 2012, Irish Paralympic sport will open its doors to prospective athletes on Saturday 13 October at University College Dublin’s Sport Centre.

The ‘Paralympic Talent Search – supported by Cadbury’ aims to encourage people with a physical disability to get involved in sport and to unearth potential Irish talent for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Athletes from Ireland’s most successful Paralympic Team will be present on the day, alongside 18 exhibiting sports and various demonstrations.

The sponsorship of the event by Cadbury forms a natural extension of the brand’s sponsorship of the Irish Paralympic and Olympic Teams at London 2012.

Double Paralympic gold medallist, handcyclist Mark Rohan, was at St Stephen’s Green today to help launch the event with fellow athletes Catherine Walsh (cycling), Heather Jameson (athletics) and Anne-Marie McDaid (rowing). Mark is always keen encourage emerging talent and has high hopes for the event: “It’s great to think that the team’s success in London will inspire others with a disability to try Paralympic sport. If you’d like to get involved and possibly compete, we’d love to see you at UCD.”

Cadbury Athlete Ambassador, Catherine Walsh, another double medallist at the Games, echoed Mark’s comments:  “As an athlete who has competed at six Paralympic Games, it’s fantastic that we’re already on the lookout for future talent. Cadbury provided me with crucial personal support towards London 2012 and I’m thrilled that they are supporting the event.”

If you have a physical disability or visual impairment and are keen to attend, you can register free at www.paralympics.ie.


The Greatest Sports Show on Earth?

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

As a keen football fan it’s always been World Cups and European Championships which have excited me most in terms of international sports tournaments, and indeed I rate my trip to USA 94, and in particular a certain goal scored against Italy in Giants Stadium, as one of my all time favourite sporting memories.  The main attraction these football tournaments hold for me over other tournaments is the familiarity of the names involved and the anticipation of seeing them all on the same stage together.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the Olympic Games in London, and what a treat it was! I’ve always enjoyed watching the Olympics, complete with its incredible variety of events, and amazing stories of inspiring success and heartbreaking failure, however, to be in London to witness it first hand was an absolute privilege. It also changed the way I look at international sporting tournaments.

By Barney Moss from London, UK (The Forging of the Rings Uploaded by BaldBoris) via Wikimedia Commons

The thing that got me most about the Olympics was its sheer scale, there was so much to see that hard choices and strategic plans were the order of the day, unfortunately it just wasn’t possible to get it all in, no matter how hard we tried. Nonetheless, even allowing for the fact that you were almost certainly missing great Olympic moments taking place elsewhere, you could be happy in the knowledge that there was plenty you did get to see.  A case in point being the first Tuesday of the games, when having sat in Wimbledon Centre Court for an afternoon watching Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova and Andy Murray in action we could have been forgiven for thinking that was as good as it got, only to find ourselves a few hours later watching Michael Phelps achieve Olympic immortality!

Over the course of 17 glorious days I witnessed some of the greatest sporting moments of our lifetime, Michael Phelps being crowned the “Greatest Olympian” ever, Usain Bolt becoming the first man to win 100m and 200m gold at successive Olympics, Katie Taylor’s sensational gold and more besides.  However, quite aside from those famous moments, I witnessed athletes from all over the world give absolutely everything to reach the pinnacle of their chosen sport, and more importantly earn the right to call themselves an Olympian.

By Steven Lewarne via Wikimedia Commons

With my professional hat on and having worked on an Olympic sponsorship programme for one of my clients over the last few years I had more than a passing interest in the commercial side of London 2012. Experiencing the various sponsor activation plans around the Olympic Park and throughout London was fascinating, be it the largest McDonalds in the world, Panasonics Full HD 3D Theatre, Coca Cola’s Beat Box, Acer’s Journey or BT London Live not to mention the high impact print and outdoor advertising campaigns run by Olympic sponsors such as Visa (Usain Bolt), Adidas and others, one thing was abundantly clear, the Olympic games are big business. The extent to which sponsors activated on the ground to drive their objectives was hugely impressive and was testament to the effect that sponsoring the Olympic Games can have on public perception and brand development. It will certainly be interesting in the coming months to examine the research around these activations to try and ascertain the sponsorship winners and losers of London 2012


Cadbury 2012 House in Hyde Park

Whilst I’ve touched on the fact that sponsors clearly see a benefit in being associated with the Olympics, what is also clear is, how important a role sponsorship plays in the development of the athletes themselves. Far away from the Usain Bolt’s and Michael Phelps of this world, for most athletes securing the necessary funding to be able to realise their dream can be one of the biggest challenges they face and sponsorship of any size shape or form is not just appreciated but in many cases a requirement. A heart warming example from London 2012 was Team GB’s Women’s Volleyball team who after they had their funding slashed a little over two years ago were forced to quit jobs and sell houses so they could all relocate to Sheffield and train together. Or closer to home, talk to any Irish athletes about their struggles to fund the training and coaching required to compete on the same level as their better resourced International counterparts and your eyes will be opened immediately. In the absence of 100% funding from their sporting organisations and governments, athletes rely on commercial sponsorship agreements to give them the funding security required to be the best they can be.

It was this particular element of London 2012 which struck me deepest, whilst as nearly all the footballers who compete in the World Cup or European Championships can return home to the safety of their clubs and a regular wage, many Olympic athletes will return home to uncertainty about their sporting and financial future.  Only when you begin to comprehend everything that these athletes have been through and what they have put on the line just to participate in the Games can you really start to appreciate why the Olympics truly is the “Greatest Sports Show on Earth”.

Darragh Rea

Darragh provides sponsorship support to a range of clients including Cadbury who are the Official Treat Provider to the Irish Olympic and Paralympic Teams



Cadbury launches sponsorship of Irish Olympic and Paralympic Teams in lead up to london 2012

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Today sees Cadbury announce their sponsorship agreement with both the Olympic Council of Ireland and Paralympics Ireland, thus becoming the Official Treat Provider to the Irish Olympic and Paralympic teams in the run up to and during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In 2008, Cadbury announced its global sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic Games, so this move comes as a natural extension to this sponsorship.

Speaking at the launch, Brian O’Sullivan, MD, Kraft Foods Ireland said “Cadbury, as one of Ireland’s best loved brands, is delighted and proud to launch this sponsorship. There has never been a more exciting time for a brand to be involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and for a brand like Cadbury to be in a position to bring a little of the Olympic spirit, and joy to our customers, the opportunity was simply too good to miss”. He continued “As a company with a large Irish manufacturing base and heritage here we are fully behind each and every Irish athlete taking part in the Games and immensely proud to play a role in their journey to London 2012”

As part of today’s launch, Cadbury also unveiled their Cadbury Ambassador Athletes for the Games – namely Paul Hession and Grainne Murphy of Team Ireland, and Catherine Walsh of Paralympics Ireland. Cadbury will work closely with these athletes over the coming months to help raise the profile not only of the athletes themselves but also to drive pride and support around participation of all Irish athletes in the Games.

As part of their sponsorship, Cadbury also plan to roll out a number of exciting initiatives over the coming weeks, which will enhance the Irish experience of the Games. These initiatives include the launch of their largest ever in-store promotion, ‘Unwrap Gold’, which will capture the imagination of Irish sporting fans everywhere and give Irish fans across Ireland the chance to win hundreds of golden vouchers to the Games hidden inside the wrappers of Cadbury Dairy Milk bars.

Pat Hickey, President of the Olympic Council of Ireland added “Team Ireland has been fortunate in its preparations for the London Olympics in having Cadbury on board as a major sponsor. This famous brand promoting and supporting our athletes to a very great degree and continues to help build public excitement and team awareness as we get ready to ‘go for gold’ in four months’ time”.

Liam Harbison, CEO, Paralympics Ireland commenting on the announcement said We are delighted that Cadbury is partnering with the 2012 Irish Paralympic Team towards this Summer’s “home Games”. Their support is of huge help, not just to Paralympic athletes like Catherine Walsh who are targeting the podium in London, but also in building the greatest-ever public support for the team”.

Cadbury renew sponsorship of Cadbury GAA U21 Football Championship

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

At the launch of of the Championship are Under 21 footballers, Patrick McBrearty, Donegal, left, Michael Quinlivan, Tipperary, centre, and Cillian O'Connor, Mayo. Croke Park, Dublin.

Kraft Foods today announced the renewal of the Cadbury sponsorship of the GAA U21 Football Championship for another 3 years. The renewal builds on a successful 7 year partnership between Cadbury and the GAA which has seen the Championship go from strength to strength with greater TV coverage now than ever before and over 20,000 fans attending the final in Croke Park last year. This success has been built on innovative sponsorship activation especially in the area of new media which has seen an ever increasing engaged audience of GAA fans participate in the Championship discussion.

Launching the Championship at an event in Croke Park today were promising Under 21 footballers; Patrick McBrearty (Donegal), Michael Quinlivan (Tipperary) and Cillian O’Connor (Mayo), Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael, Críostóir Ó Cuana and Cadbury Hero of the Future (HOTF) Judges: Paul Caffrey, Dermot Earley and Micheál Ó Domhnaill.

Speaking at the launch, Shane Guest, Kraft Foods Ireland said “We are delighted to be able to renew our sponsorship with the GAA and look forward to building on the success of the past 7 years. The skill and determination these young footballers demonstrate continues to astound us and we look forward to another exciting championship in 2012”.

Speaking at the launch Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Críostóir Ó Cuana said:  “The GAA U21 Football Championship has served as an important stepping stone for many of the players who progress to reach the highest level of our game and those who follow the grade closely have been treated to some excellent campaigns in recent seasons. To that end we are delighted to acknowledge the three year extension to our arrangement with Cadbury. Their support and innovation has helped bring great energy to the competition in recent seasons and I look forward to the continuation of what has been a fruitful partnership ahead of what promises to be another intriguing championship.”

Last year’s championship culminated in a great spectacle which saw over 20,000 attendants in Croke Park watch Galway earn a hard fought win against Ulster Champions Cavan and this year the Cadbury GAA Facebook Community have again identified Cavan and Galway as the two counties most likely to battle it out for the All Ireland title. The Cadbury GAA under 21 Football Championship is widely regarded as an important stepping stone to senior success with a large number of Under 21 players already starring for their senior county teams in the National League and in previous Senior All Ireland Championships. Amongst those is 2010 Cadbury Hero of the Future Rory O’Carroll who starred at full back as Dublin claimed the All-Ireland for the first time since 1995. Previous Cadbury Hero of the Future award winners; Colm O’Neill, (HOTF 2009), Killian Young (2008) and Fintan Goold’s (HOTF 2007) have also gone on to claim All-Ireland Senior success.

Cadbury Hero of the Future Awards:

Former Cadbury Hero of the Future Award Winners:

  • 2006: Keith Higgins from Mayo
  • 2007: Fintan Goold from Cork
  • 2008: Killian Young from Kerry
  • 2009: Colm O’Neill from Cork
  • 2010: Rory O’Carroll from Dublin
  • 2011: Thomas Flynn from Galway

Cadbury Scholarship

The Cadbury Scholarship programme now covers 9 third level institutions with 13 students receiving awards so far in 2012.

  • Gary Sweeney – Galway – (NUI Galway)
  • Einne O’ hEochaidh – Galway (NUI Galway)
  • James O’Meara – Limerick (UL)
  • Eamonn Kiely – Kerry (UL)
  • Damien Cahalane – Cork (UCC)
  • Kevin Hallissey – Cork (CIT)
  • Kevin O’Sullivan – Meath (TCD)
  • Patrick O’Higgins – Dublin (TCD)
  • Aaron Murphy – Wicklow (UCD)
  • Cormac Boyle – Westmeath (UCD)
  • Ciaran Cafferky – Roscommon (DCU)
  • Jack McCarron – Monaghan (DCU)
  • Bernard Allen – Offaly (DIT)
  • 2 x University of Ulster – scholarships yet to take place

Cadbury GAA Online

For the 2012 season, Cadbury will continue to build on its digital platforms for its dedicated online community who follow every move of the Championship throughout the season. With established social media platforms including Facebook www.facebook.com/U21GAAFootball Twitter http://twitter.com/CadburyU21 and Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cadburyu21football and a newly updated website www.cadburygaau21.com GAA fans from every corner of the globe can contribute with comments, photos and videos and of course vote for the 2011 Cadbury Hero of the Future.

Getting Social Media engagement right within the GAA

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Murray Consultants secure PR Award for Excellence for Cadbury GAA U21 Football Championship

Leading public relations consultancy, Murray Consultants was recognised for its use of new media for the Cadbury GAA U21 Gaelic Football Championship. The Award, ‘Best Use of New Media’ was presented to Account Director John McGuinness as part of the annual PR Awards at the Conrad Hotel, Dublin.

As sponsor of the U21 Gaelic Football Championship since 2005, Cadbury through agency partner Murray Consultants has worked hard at developing a pro-active sponsorship programme aimed at promoting the U21 Gaelic Football grade for both players and fans alike.

The PR Award for Excellence which recognises Murray Consultants work in developing the use of New Media for the Cadbury GAA U21 Gaelic Football Championship focused on the range of platforms which have been developed under the Cadbury brand to support the Championship. These include a very active Facebook page with over 7,000 fans from all over Ireland and the rest of the World, a Flickr resource and a Twitter channel with a following of over 800 which includes fans, players, GAA Clubs, County Boards and sports media. These platforms are all anchored by the U21 Championship website www.cadburygaau21.com.  

Explaining the Social Media engagement, John McGuinness, Account Director, Murray Consultants said, “We are thrilled with this recognition, Cadbury are a terrific sponsor of the U21 Gaelic Football Championship and over the last number of years, Murray Consultants working in partnership with Cadbury have been responsible for a lot of firsts in the GAA sponsorship space. Our work within the area of Digital and Social Media is an example of this where we have placed considerable emphasis on the development of content and particularly video content through our strategic partners Ballywire Media as a way of engaging the GAA community.”

Speaking about the Sponsorship, Shane Guest, Senior Brand Marketing Manager Cadbury said, “Murray Consultants and its Consumer PR Wing MCsquared have and continue to be an integral partner in our sponsorship of the U21 Gaelic Football Championship. They have matched their own deep interest and commitment to the GAA with an ability to push the boundaries of sponsorship engagement, constantly learning, developing and executing and the Social Media and Digital element of the U21 sponsorship is a perfect example of this.”

Paul Dermody, Sponsorship Manager, GAA added, “Over the last 6 seasons Cadbury have taken the U21 Football championship to new heights in terms of profile and support. We have been continually impressed with the activation campaigns created by Cadbury and implemented by Murray Consultants over this period, in particular in the social media space. Social media is absolutely the right medium for engaging with the fans of the Cadbury GAA Football U21 championship and the team at Cadbury have excelled at maintaining the interaction with fans across various platforms”

Over the last two Championship seasons, Murray Consultants and Cadbury have developed a number of initiatives promoting social media engagement by fans of the U21 championship these included the selection of the best 15 players at U21 Championship grade between 2005-2010 which received over 5,000 votes online, this season also saw the introduction of Facebook updates by Cadbury Hero of the Future Judges Dermot Earley, Paul (Pillar Caffery), Darragh O’Shea and Michael O’Domhnaill.

For further information on the Cadbury GAA U21 Gaelic Football Championship go to:

Website: www.cadburygaau21.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/U21GAAFootball

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/CadburyU21

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cadburyu21football/



For further information on Murray Consultants please contact:

Darragh Rea/Diarmaid Walsh

Murray Consultants

01 498 0300

Murray Consultants Account Director John McGuinness

BBC Sport Six Nations promo

Monday, January 31st, 2011

This clip, filmed by Red Bee Media, is a promo for the 2011 6 Nations rugby coverage on the BBC. The campaign aims to show how devoted fans are to rugby and during filming they achieved a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest scrum. We love the train station tackle at the beginning of the clip!

Kevin Doyle kicks off 3’s €10 million funding programme for Irish football clubs

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

3, primary sponsors of the Football Association of Ireland today announced a special €10m fund to aid the grass roots development of Irish football. The programme offers FAI affiliated clubs the chance of earning cash when their members switch to 3, the more people that switch the more money the club earns. To date over 450 clubs have switched at least one member to 3 with Drogheda United topping the table by already securing €900 for the club. In total €53,150 has already been given out to clubs across the country. For more details see www.3football.ie

Cadbury Ireland Brings Back the Spirit of Play with €15m Marketing Campaign

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Cadbury Ireland today launches its biggest ever marketing initiative – with an unprecedented marketing and communications spend of €15million, which aims to get people of all ages and walks of life to play games again. Young and old, people in villages and in towns, able-bodied and disabled people will be encouraged to play games and challenge each other.

To underpin the launch Cadbury Ireland has carried out an extensive body of research* into the importance of play, and game-playing in particular, across all age groups and is working closely with children’s psychologist David Coleman on this initiative.

In 2008, Cadbury became the Official Treat Provider to the London 2012 Olympic Games. As a result of this sponsorship, Cadbury sought to develop a programme which reflected the true spirit of the Olympics and game-playing itself, and thus the concept of Spots v Stripes was born, as a means of re-igniting the spirit of play in everyone – a big game that the whole country can play.

The game invites everyone to divide into two teams (either Spots or Stripes) and play any type of game in order to score points towards an overall national team total. The game will run until 2012, but Cadbury hopes the legacy of playing will last much longer. Spots v Stripes hopes to be the longest most inclusive game ever, one which will capture the imagination of people across towns and villages across Ireland.

Spots v Stripes is an ambitious and exciting campaign which will be the biggest programme ever undertaken in Cadbury’s history, and as such Cadbury has embarked on its largest and most integrated marketing campaign ever, involving sponsorship, advertising, digital, PR, events, CSR and sales promotion channels.  Other key Irish agency partners include Carat, Publicis QMP, and Ogilvy One.

The campaign, kicks off today with the launch of the website www.spotsvstripes.com, which will challenge people to play games on a daily basis, and the new TV advertising campaign began on Saturday 7 August, which will air for 8 weeks, with a media plan including 90 second, 60 second and 30 second spots.

The advert, created by the agency Fallon, and developed in conjunction with PR agency partners in Ireland and the UK, including MCsquared in Dublin and Pretty Green in the UK, aims to show there’s a playful spirit in all of us, just waiting to be awoken. For a company renowned for the likes of Gorilla and Eyebrows campaigns it is perhaps no surprise that the film does so, by taking a less than conventional approach to tell the story.

Featuring two teams of fish characters, one spotty and one stripey, the film shows a dramatic underwater game unfolding between the two teams! The CGI characters for the film were painstakingly created by The Moving Picture Company over 8 months and placed on a real coral reef backdrop filmed in Egypt.

Cadbury Ireland has been running a colleague and ambassador engagement programme since May to help build a groundswell of support for the idea ahead of the official launch today. Since May, over five thousand people have already played and can be seen in action on two dedicated facebook pages – www.facebook.com/cadburyspots and www.facebook.com/csadburystripes

In addition to this, Cadbury will have a team of purple Spots v Stripes Games Ambassadors who will be touring the country bringing the games to every corner of the island of Ireland, visiting a number of Universities, Events and Festivals encouraging the playing of games of all sorts.

Each of the Spots v Stripes Games Ambassadors will have a toolkit which will include information on traditional games, games from other cultures, games for people of all ages and abilities.

Aside from the above, Cadbury will be running nationwide consumer promotions, and working closely with their retail customers to tailor specific Spots v Stripes programmes to their specific needs.

Commenting on Spots v Stripes, Brian O’Sullivan, Managing Director, Cadbury Ireland said “At Cadbury, play is a huge part of our heritage, dating back to when the Cadbury brothers first set up the company. Believing that business can be a force for good, we pioneered the value of recreational time – and we continue to invest in sustaining our communities. We believe that getting together to play games can help build bridges between people of different backgrounds, cultures and ages. We hope through Spots v Stripes to create a social movement that inspires the country to play more games in the lead up to and beyond Olympic Games in 2012”

Greta Hammel, Head of Marketing, Cadbury Ireland added “After two years of preparation, we are delighted that Spots v Stripes finally gets to see the light of day. This hugely complex initiative has involved all of our teams working together, on a scale that has never been seen before at Cadbury, to launch something which we really hope will capture the public’s imagination. We hope that everybody is inspired by some part of our campaign to try something different – with so much to come, we hope everyone finds a reason to get involved!”

For more information visit www.spotsvstripes.com or visit either of the dedicated campaign pages on Facebook – www.facebook.com/cadburyspots or www.facebook.com/cadburystripes

3 agrees primary sponsorship of the Irish national football team and all international squads

Friday, August 6th, 2010

3, Ireland’s largest high speed network, and the Football Association of Ireland announced a sponsorship agreement, worth €7.5 million over four years, which sees 3 become the primary sponsor of the Irish national football team and all international squads. Launching on August 11th this sponsorship sees 3, not only supporting the national team, but also working with football at grassroots level involving clubs and leagues up and down the country. The agreement coincides with 3’s major push into the pre-paid market.

This much-coveted sponsorship affords 3 premium branding rights to include training and playing gear and kit, ticket branding and high visibility pitch-side branding at the magnificent Aviva Stadium. Eager fans keen to get hold of the new shirt with the 3 logo will be able to do so from the Autumn onwards. 3 customers will also be given privileged access to tickets and other exciting initiatives, details of which will be announced at a later date.

With over 450,000 participants, football is the largest sport in the country and last year, 10 of the top 20 most watched sports events in Ireland were football events (9 of which were Senior Irish International matches). In addition, the 2.2 million peak audience which watched the France v Republic of Ireland match in November 2009 was the largest RTE audience for any sporting event since 1995.

Robert Finnegan, CEO, 3 commenting on the announcement said: “We are delighted to announce this major sponsorship, and see this as a strong strategic fit for our business to drive awareness of our brand amongst supporters of the number one sport in the country. Football fans will be at the heart of 3’s sponsorship strategy and we plan to launch a range of exciting, new initiatives, including priority ticket bookings for 3 customers.”

Robert continued: “This announcement officially confirms 3 as Irish football’s biggest fan and the number one network for all supporters. We hope football fans will not only cheer on our boys in green but will support their new sponsor by switching to 3. Giovanni Trapattoni’s mobile phone bills will never have been so low, with 3 he’ll be paying local Irish rates even when he’s in Italy!”

John Delaney, Chief Executive, FAI, added: “3 is a new and dynamic brand in Ireland and their determination and drive will bring fresh energy and focus to the partnership. The agreement comes at a very significant time for Irish football and I look forward to seeing both sides enjoying success on and off the pitch.”

“This is significant sponsorship which is structured to reach out as never before to engage with grassroots football and all the strands of the game that we represent. It is a significant investment in the future of Irish football, particularly in light of the current economic climate.”

“We have worked hard with Robert Finnegan and his team from 3 over recent months I thank them for their vision, determination and professionalism. By coming on board at such an exciting time for Irish football, we look forward to a very beneficial partnership.”

Giovanni Trapattoni, Senior Irish International Manager, commented: “I look forward to 3’s support for Irish football. We have talked about their plans, and I think this partnership will be good for the game at all levels, while helping the FAI to develop and grow the sport. 3 is a major international brand and we’re delighted to have them on side.”

In the last twenty four years this primary sponsorship position has only changed hands twice which is testament to the value and effectiveness of the sponsorship. The new partnership comes at an extremely exciting time for Irish football, coinciding with the move to a new world-class home in the Aviva Stadium and the continued progress of the Senior International Team under Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli, keeping Irish football at the forefront of the Irish sporting agenda and providing 3 consistent opportunities to connect with stakeholders, players and fans. 3 expects to develop a range of marketing activities to leverage the sponsorship, benefiting both the FAI at all levels and fans alike.

3’s sponsorship of the Irish national football team and all international squads follows a number of other high profile sports sponsorships.  For more information see www.three.ie or www.fai.ie.