GAA President Nickey Brennan yesterday insisted the new multi sponsorship package for the GAA hurling and football championships will provide “significant” financial benefits for competing counties.
Some County Boards are concerned by an order from Croke Park chiefs that local advertising must be covered up and only sponsors’ hoardings can appear during live television broadcasts.
Longford, who face Westmeath in the opening round of the Leinster Football championship Sunday, have this week voiced their annoyance with the instructions.
But Brennan expressed surprise at such concerns.
He said: “The whole sponsorship and the broad thrust of how it will operate has been in the public arena for the best part of 12 months,” adding that while the details had been outlined at Central Council level, they did not get into “specific figures” because of their sensitive nature.
“It would be fair to say that the whole new sponsorship model will be significantly better for counties from a financial point of view. Any issues that need to be resolved, hopefully we will get them resolved in the next 48 hours.”
Interestingly, Longford had aired concerns two months ago at the Leinster Convention, when Board Chairman Pat Cahill expressed his worry about the reported need to have “a clean stadium and to have all the signs covered”.
Reacting to comments on the subject passed by provincial secretary Michael Delaney in his report, he said the fear was that local sponsors — “your small corner shop, your local garage” — would be squeezed out.
Brennan said no deals could be made with sponsors on the basis of live coverage for the simple reason that it would not be known (that far) in advance where games were going to be fixed. And, he pointed out that in Ulster and Connacht the provincial councils had taken control of all branding within their (major) grounds several years ago. And, all contracts in Croke Park had been concluded last year.
It meant that the matter of signage “might” only arise at a small number of provincial grounds in Munster and Leinster. And, he stressed that local sponsors would not be squeezed out, as long as they were not in conflict with any of the main sponsors. In effect, three sides of the ground — the two end lines and the side facing the cameras — will have the new branding. Even if signs have to be relocated, other sponsors can be placed on the remaining side of the ground.
“When we take over the whole sponsorship ourselves, these are the deliverables we have to come up with. And counties are being extremely well compensated for that.’’
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