At a glance: deals and moves in the Irish sponsorship market and beyond for the month of AUGUST
The big news this month was undoubtedly the success of the Women’s Rugby World Cup in its delivery, sponsor engagement and record breaking viewership figures. World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont has hailed Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 as a “special and ground-breaking” event.
Viewership figures also broke numerous records both home and abroad. Ireland’s opening game attracted an average of 191k viewers on RTÉ sport, peaking in the game’s dying minutes at over 322k viewers. These figures continued to increase with a record average of 225k people turning in to watch the defeat to France – a share of 18.3%. While in France, history making viewership figures reached 2.3 million for Ireland v France game and peak audience of 3.2 million tuned into France 2 for the France v England semi-final. Tournament sponsors Heineken, Mastercard, Land Rover, Aon, EY and Aldi were heavily branded and involved within all areas of the tournament. From the playing fields, Fan Zones, Trophy Tours and venues, sponsors leveraged the opportunity to connect with passionate fans.
Staying with rugby, the provinces were particularly busy in August announcing new sponsorship’s with professional services firms before the season kick-off.
Connacht Rugby announced a new two-year extension with Grant Thornton, Ireland’s fastest growing professional services firm, for naming rights of the seated stand at the Sportsground in Galway. The Grant Thornton Seated Stand, the premier vantage point in the Sportsground, is in place for all of Connacht’s home games, offering a seated option for 290 supporters.
Deloitte announced its two-year sponsorship agreement as the lead sponsor of the Ulster Women’s Rugby Team. With the continued growth in the women’s game, Deloitte felt it was the right time to throw its support behind the Women’s game. Jackie Henry, Senior Partner at Deloitte, said the sponsorship deal is in keeping with Deloitte’s strong track record of supporting sport at all levels.
Also in August, the FAI launched its first kit with new sponsors New Balance, who recently replaced Umbro after a 23-year association. The men’s senior team debuted the kit against Georgia before hosting Serbia in the World Cup qualifier. New Balance will supply the national team – men’s and women’s – from senior through to underage level with kit, training apparel and equipment.
As the English Premier League season returns, 11 of its 20 teams were showcasing new sleeve sponsors in the opening round of fixtures. While these types of deals are common in Europe, it’s the first-time English clubs are allowing sponsors a space on the jersey that isn’t the traditional front placement. Liverpool were one of the latest clubs taking advantage of this opportunity unveiling Western Union on their sleeve in a deal reportedly worth UK£25 million (EUR€27.4 million) over a five-year period.
One of the emerging trends in the ever-changing landscape of sports fandom is the demand from fans to be a part of their favourite sporting event; being in the stadium is no longer enough, fans want to engage and be involved in the experience. In a move to address this, and borrowing an innovation from American sports franchises, Manchester City launched their Tunnel Club at the club’s first home match of the new Premier League season. For prices starting at £300 per match, or £15,000 for the season, fans can enjoy what is described as a premium viewing experience; with two-way glass allowing patrons to watch as the teams emerge at the start of each half from the dressing room, while enjoying the comforts of an exclusive lounge either side of the tunnel. Tunnel Club members will also enjoy a post-match tactical debrief from a member of Pep Guardiola’s backroom team and seats in the ground directly behind the home bench.
Tottenham Hotspur are including a similar feature in their new stadium, which is currently under construction, and Livewire expects innovations such as this, which encourage fan engagement and enhance the match-day experience in a new way, to become more widespread in the coming years.
Away from sport, a key sponsorship deal within the Irish market that came to life in August was Just Eat taking on sponsorship of Dublin Bikes. Unveiled last month as the new commercial partner, replacing Coke Zero, the three-year deal believed to cost €2.5m, saw the launch and roll out of bikes branded with the logo of the online food ordering site. The new look features the distinctive Just Eat logo and signature colour ray. In addition, the docking station screens, service vehicles, staff uniforms and associated inventory have all been branded with the Just Eat logo and colours.
In the media market, RTÉ has secured exclusive free-to-air broadcast rights to every competitive fixture to be played by the Republic of Ireland soccer team from now until at least 2022. This includes the European Qualifiers for the UEFA EURO 2020 Finals and the FIFA World Cup Finals 2022. RTÉ already holds rights to the European Qualifiers and finals for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and the broadcast rights to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Staying with media broadcasters, TV3 launched its new season line-up with new shows, big name signings, major sports events, exclusive drama commissions and TV3’s biggest-ever commitment to News and Current Affairs. Leading the announcements, the station confirmed its biggest investment in entertainment to date with Ireland’s Got Talent, the world’s most successful TV show format, going to market for circa. €450k. Commenting on the launch, TV3 Group Managing Director, Pat Kiely, said “This New Season line-up reflects TV3’s growing scale and ambition as we drive investment in Irish content, studio infrastructure and independent production.”
As ever, we finish with a look at some of the available properties in the Irish market. This month, we have two hot properties from RTÉ Radio and the prestigious People of the Year Awards.
First on the list is a high frequency opportunity on 2FM. Traffic and Travel gives the sponsor a presence across both morning and evening drivetime on 2FM. The stings are essentially anchored at the top of the traffic report throughout each show, ensuring a mass audience is reached, and is available at €245,000 for 12 months.
The Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Greene, which airs weekdays from 10am-1pm on 2FM, is currently seeking a sponsor with a price of €245,000 for the year. The show features the latest music and entertainment news, along with interviews and competitions.
Finally, Rehab Group is seeking a title sponsor for its prestigious People of the Year Awards. As Ireland’s longest running awards programme, broadcast live on RTÉ and supported by high profile celebrities, the awards recognises the community, volunteer and humanitarian achievements of the people of Ireland.