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Half-Time Sponsorship Scores Signal GAA's Time to Shine

Posted By Onside, Tuesday 1 August 2017

John Trainor Onside

As the summer season of GAA heats up on the field, sponsors still view gaelic football and hurling as a winning platform, as 1 in 5 sponsorship deals in Ireland so far this year involved a GAA property, according to sponsorship experts ONSIDE. 

While the latest ONSIDE QSR (Quarterly Sponsorship Review) shows that the second quarter of 2017 saw a slower rate of activity to the same period last year In terms of volumes of sponsorship deals made, there has been an overall year on year growth of 3% in sponsorship deals in the first half of 2017 vs. the same period in 2016.

Sport continues to command a lion’s share of the sponsorship activity in Ireland in 2017, with 3 in 4 deals reported so far this year played out in the sports arena. High-profile deals like Bord Gáis Energy’s new sponsorship of the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championships and the GAA’s new partnership with Ericsson all made headlines, while soccer is also showing particularly strong progress this year, including a range of new FAI deals with brands including Fulfill, Rustlers and a major new kit deal with New Balance. 

Commenting on other Irish sponsorship market dynamics at play to date in 2017, John Trainor, Founder and CEO of ONSIDE notes that “media / broadcast and equestrian related sponsorships have also got off to a flying start in the first half of the year.  Financial services and travel & tourism sectors have been most active to date as brands in these sectors establish their positioning for more competitive landscapes to trade in over the medium term.”

In terms of the Irish public’s buy-in to sponsors advances, Trainor notes “a more consistent pattern of admiration for sponsors is emerging as the Irish Sponsorship marketplace matures further. For the second quarter in a row, our research found 2 in 3 Irish adults that could name a sponsorship that they liked.  The other dynamic is that a smaller number of sponsors are ‘making the cut’ in people’s minds as the clutter of brands is being more clearly filtered to 30 or 40 brands consistently standing out for people”. 

Telecoms brands topped the ONSIDE list of most appealing sport sponsors among Irish adults for the second quarter in a row, with main rugby and soccer sponsors Vodafone and 3 championing sports sponsorship appeal.  Vodafone also topped ONSIDE’s poll of Ireland’s most appealing non-sports sponsors, joined by other major sponsors of non-sports platforms such as 3, Guinness, Electric Ireland, Heineken and Bord Gáis Energy.  Aviva’s progress was also singled out by the ONSIDE research as being exponential in the past 12 months, while Bank of Ireland and Lucozade all show good momentum in the latest research.

With all eyes on the GAA sponsorship platform in an otherwise quiet summer of sport this year, the latest ONSIDE QSR research with the Irish public also zoned in specifically on the early performers in terms of most admired GAA sponsorship, finding over 30 sponsors making the cut.  The ONSIDE research demonstrates the importance of strong activation to win over the hearts and minds of the Irish public, with Supervalu, who have supported the GAA since 2010, topping the table of most appealing GAA sponsor in Q2 2017, followed by relative newcomer Lidl, who have invested heavily in promoting their association with Ladies Gaelic Football.  Guinness is still positively associated with the games in third, ahead of AIB and Bank of Ireland. 


John Trainor is the CEO and founder of ONSIDE. He has been a contributing member and Fellow of the Marketing Institute of Ireland for over 20 years.

ONSIDE is a leading specialist in marketing and sponsorship consulting and research services – With a proven track record and strong industry experience in a cross section of sectors, ONSIDE is currently feeding into the marketing and sponsorship decision making of circa €50m+ of Irish spend – working on many of Ireland’s premier sponsorships – on sporting, music, cause-related, broadcast and other platforms.

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