At a glance: deals and moves in the Irish sponsorship market for the month of AUGUST

In a month where the Olympic Games dominated the sports headlines for both good and bad reasons, there were also a plethora of sponsorship stories in the Irish market.

As expected, it seems that Laya Healthcare will be the naming rights partner for a revamped RDS. It was widely reported in August that a 10 year deal has been signed for €8m however, we expect the deal to be worth closer to €6m. Recent research conducted by Livewire showed that 6% of naming rights deals globally were taken by healthcare brands with 1% taken by insurance companies. With Aviva and Laya investing in this space there is now speculation about possible brands lining up for Páirc Uí Chaoimh, and Thomond Park.

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Sticking with sports, Volkswagon announced its sponsorship of the All-Ireland GAA Football Sevens in August. The brand will be supporting this sponsorship with an integrated activation programme which will include experiential match day activity and product placement. This is a great example of a brand using a lesser known competition to associate itself with the much sought-community of fans – in this instance the GAA.

The betting company Boylesports announced that it would be renewing its sponsorship of the Irish Grand National this month. The sponsorship includes an increased prize fund as well as a Boylesports betting shop located on course. The renewal is not surprising given Boylesports commitment to Irish horse racing – the brand also sponsors all horse racing coverage across RTE Television and a number of other properties in the area.

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In further sports related news, Guinness announced it would be renewing its sponsorship of the Pro12 rugby championship this month. The deal will see the brand sponsor the competition until 2020. Guinness has a long association with rugby and has enjoyed great success due to it. Diageo revealed that Guinness sales grew 4% in the second half of 2015 due to their activation around the Rugby World Cup, despite not being a sponsor of the tournament.

In other Pro12 news, Mazda Ireland has announced it would be continuing its sponsorship of Connacht Rugby ahead of the 2016/17 season. Captain John Muldoon has just been announced as an official ambassador for the brand.

And away from sport for a moment…

AIB was announced as the sponsor of National Digital Week, which is being held in Skibbereen, Co. Cork for the second time in November. The inaugural event which was held last year attracted over 1600 attendees and was regarded as a huge success. The sponsorship ties in with what AIB are doing at the moment, and is a great way to tie the brand to innovation in a more localised way.

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Retailer Marks & Spencer announced an initial three year sponsorship of ‘the ‘Field of Dreams’ initiative this month. The project aims at providing adults with Down Syndrome education, training and potential work opportunities in Cork. This follows M&S’s previous work with Down Syndrome Ireland.

In the global context….

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Nike caused a bit of a stir at the start of the month when it announced that it would be discontinuing golf club manufacturing. This throws doubt over Rory McIlroy’s standing with the sport giant after he had signed a new deal with Nike in 2013 worth a reported £155m. Nike say the decision is due to declining sales and a desire to focus on footwear and clothing.

In slightly more bizarre news, Speedo dropped its sponsorship of US Olympian Ryan Lochte after his now infamous shenanigans at the Olympic Games. The move by Speedo is a statement to the global sponsorship community and could signal a new era for sponsors which must consider how to react to controversies such as misconduct, doping or corruption. For example, the Speedo decision contrasts with that of Nike which retained its support of Maria Sharapova despite her two year ban for taking a banned substance.

As always, we finish off this month’s Sponsorship Watch with a brief overview of the big ticket sponsorships that are available at the moment. On radio, 2fm’s Breakfast Republic will become available at the beginning of October. The asking price on this is €195k for 12 months. Metropolis Festival, one of Dublin’s newest and most engaging music and arts festivals returns to the RDS this winter and is looking for (non-alcohol) brands to get involved.