Given the noses in the southwest which were put out of joint last Friday by Conor McCarthy’s piece in these pages, should we start with off-field competition?
McCarthy made the simple point last week that good teams in any sport seek to maximise their relationship with the referee, which seems more statement of fact than incendiary insult; we won’t get into the odd contradiction wherein people from a county priding itself on its cuteness get the hump when someone refers to its . . . cuteness.
Anyway, there are all sorts of other competitions which rumble along in the background of every championship summer, some of which don’t appear too closely connected to the sweeper system in hurling or long-range point-taking in Gaelic football.
Example one would refer to the county which recently put one of the main championship sponsors on notice about using its jerseys in promotions — more precisely, the county’s unhappiness with its association in those promotions with an organisation that does not sponsor its teams and actitivies.
Example two might include the All-Ireland contenders which have sought out polo shirts for their teams which have specific collar styles with their sponsors’ names on them. The reason? To make sure that any head-shot photographs or post-game TV interviews with close-in camerawork include those sponsors’ names.
The amount of small-arms fire deployed by and on behalf of sponsors is surprising, because one would presume that when deals are signed that most eventualities are covered, but apparently not.
The (relatively) high number of competition sponsors and team sponsors shouldn’t necessarily be a problem, particularly as other sports routinely have a suite of sponsors.
That doesn’t mean it all goes smoothly all the time, of course. I note that earlier this week one Formula One boss, Federico Gastaldi of Lotus, said: “We also need to be more open to help sponsors to understand how they can get return on investment and help the media improve the show for the viewers. And we need to be more generous with our time, including the drivers, to make it more accessible. I understand their job is stressful but it is good if we can find a way for them to be more available to fans. It is about educating the people.”
If those are views held in one of the most relentlessly monetised sport in the world, perhaps the GAA should have someone whose specific brief it is to smooth the relationships between county boards, sponsors, media and broadcasters, not to mention the individuals whose intellectual property rights are so important to the entire process.
That isn’t the beginning and end of the commercial reality, of course. Take the Munster final replay on Saturday. The merchants of Killarney were no doubt delighted with another big attendance in the town for the rematch, an unscheduled boost to the coffers with another one coming next year as Pairc Ui Chaoimh is refurbished.
Their equivalents in Cork will no doubt be looking forward to the following three years when those clashes between red and white and green and gold are played on Leeside.
A worthwhile dip into a work of genius on swimming
A week collecting someone from a swimming camp means an excuse to once again mention one of the greatest sports books of all time — Charles Sprawson’s study of the history and practice of swimming, Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer As Hero.
Sporty diplomat for One Day
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