‘New sponsor will be found’

INDUSTRY experts are adamant the GAA will have little difficulty in replacing Vodafone as a sponsor of the All-Ireland senior football championship.

The telecommunications giant confirmed this week that they would not be renewing their three-year deal and admitted that ‘no decision’ has been made in relationship to their sponsorship of the All Stars.

However, John Trainor, Managing Director of Onside Sponsorship, is convinced that Croke Park chiefs will have plenty of potential suitors seeking association with one of the GAA’s blue chip competitions.

He said: “The key numbers will stack up for any brand wanting to partner the GAA at Championship level. More than half of Irish adults are interested in the GAA, live attendance figures are staying level and television viewing figures are up. The GAA remains a strong marketing platform in these tough times.”

However he admitted that the financial downturn is creating a mixed response in the sponsorship market. “In a recent survey which we undertook, we found that one in two Irish sponsors are cutting their spend while one in five companies are increasing their spend.

“The challenge facing rightsholders in the market is negotiation of fees. Our experience is that the fees are at best staying level with deals done in the last three or five years. But some prices are deflating.”

Trainor said it was impossible to pinpoint the type of company who would be most likely to seek a tie in with the GAA. It could be either someone who is trying to make a new mark in the Irish market or a local existing brand.

“Established and usual sponsors like telecommunications and car brands shouldn’t be ruled out.”

Meanwhile Vodafone Ireland last night issued a statement outlining their position.

“Vodafone Ireland has invested in the GAA substantially over the past 13 years, including the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship and the GAA All Stars and Player of the Month programme. Vodafone committed to a three year deal, which concluded this season, as joint sponsors of the GAA Football All-Ireland senior championship and we have decided not to renew this partnership. No decision has been made in relation to the GAA All Stars, which Vodafone continues to support and activate, but we will be reviewing this partnership at the end of the year when it is due for renewal as would be the norm for all sponsorships that are due for renewal.”


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