16 November 2021: Seasoned stars among the sensational Ireland rugby squad that were victorious over New Zealand including Conor Murray and Tadhg Furlong are set to convert their personal admiration fanbase of close to three-quarters of a million Irish adults, while Joey Carberry and James Ryan are solidly building their avid fanbase to nearer 400,000 Irish adults according to a new study – Talent Reframed – The Next Chapter – carried out by sponsorship consultants ONSIDE for sports agency Line Up Sports.

The new research by ONSIDE into the Q4 2021 footprint of Line Up Sports’ stable of Irish sports’ top stars found a direct correlation between the familiarity and awareness of Irish rugby players and their number of international caps. Irish rugby players near the 100-cap milestone received significantly higher public familiarity and appeal scores, with 45% and 39% already familiar with Conor Murray and Tadhg Furlong, respectively.

As businesses and brands prepare their short and medium-term marketing plans, notice will be given to the finding that 46% of Irish adults agree that using athletes and sports personalities as brand ambassadors provides a better way to promote products and services than straight product advertising.

John Trainor, CEO of ONSIDE, commented: “For many brands, Q4 is typically the window in which they look for options around medium term sponsorship and ambassadorial type opportunities. The successful run that Irish rugby is on places Irish rugby stars right in the frame for consideration for brands planning their game plans out to 2023 – the year these players will be centre stage in France for RWC 2023”.

The study also shows that those aged 18-24 are particularly receptive to brand ambassadors, as almost half are more likely to trust a brand if a sports-personality they admire recommends it, showing a huge opportunity for brands to market to Gen-Z. This is compared with the 27% of all Irish adults in general that agreed with the same statement in the ONSIDE research.

Speaking on the insights generated by ONSIDE, Line Up Sports Commercial Director, Elma Beirne comments: “The re-emergence of live sport and rugby means there is a heightened interest in rugby from purists and armchair fans alike. The sport continues to provide credible, engaging brand ambassadors and we are seeing a noticeable pick up in interest for all of our athletes. This research has had an invaluable impact on our business and how we strategically approach our work with our commercial partners. The latest report has given us an up-to-date deep dive into each of our athletes, enabling us to prepare a much more robust case for brand fit and value and highlight the unique opportunities that each of our individual athletes hold beyond just on-field performance”.