GAA reaffirm stance on sponsorship packaging

GUINNESS’ long-standing association with the All-Ireland SHC ending next year remains a possibility as GAA commercial director Dermot Power has again refused to rule out packaging the All-Ireland championships.

It was reported last September that Croke Park was considering making their two under-age championships — minor and under-21 — available to prospective sponsors.

Were that to happen, Diageo-owned company Guinness, who have sponsored the SHC since 1995 and are signed up until the end of this season, would be ruled out as the GAA could not countenance an alcoholic beverage company backing their under-age competitions.

“Contracts are still running and nothing as yet has been decided,” stated Power.

“But it is true that we want to give sponsors added value and making things more attractive.”

Despite the associate sponsorship model adopted by the GAA since 2008, Guinness remain synonymous with the competition after being the sole sponsor for 13 years.

However, concerns have been raised that their marketing clout has sidelined the two other associate sponsors.

Well-placed industry sources have suggested Etihad Airlines’ future as an All-Ireland SHC is not as certain as has been previously reported.

Their contract ran out at the end of last season and while negotiations have taken place it remains unclear whether they will continue for a fourth season.

Meanwhile, Power has confirmed that the GAA are in discussions with a number of interested parties about possibly replacing Vodafone as one of the three All-Ireland SFC associate sponsors.

Eircom are still poised to replace their telecommunication rivals despite news this past week of their plans to cut 90 million over the next two years.

“I can say we are actively talking to a number of companies,” said Power .

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