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

It was yet another busy month for sponsorship throughout March. The latest installments of the AIB-backed ‘The Toughest Trade’ hit our screens earlier this month on RTE 2. It is a testament to the success of the programme itself and also the overarching campaign as a whole that the two episodes both reached almost twice as more viewers as last year’s single episode respectively. The second episode, featuring Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea and former NFL star Roberto Wallace reached on average 163,000 people. The series is an excellent example of advertiser-funded programming and how a brand can move beyond simply badging a property – the brand was subtly integrated into the content, while also sponsoring each of the broadcasts. The format provided AIB with the perfect platform to further promote their sponsorship of the All Ireland Club Championships, while forging a more meaningful relationship with viewers and fans alike.

In other news, The Irish Independent has announced a three year renewal of the Irish Greyhound Laurels sponsorship in Curraheen Park Greyhound Stadium. The newspaper came on-board as title sponsor last year with an initial 12 month agreement, however as a result of the success of the partnership, the renewal ensures the sponsorship is secured through to 2018. The sponsorship enables The Irish Independent to communicate succinctly the greyhound racing community, while also engaging those who may attend Curraheen Park Greyhound Stadium for a social event or night out.

Moving from greyhound racing to horse racing, the betting agency Coral have stepped in to sponsor the Punchestown Festival. Yet to sign up as an Authorised Betting Partner in the UK, the move follows on from Coral backing the big meeting at Leopardstown in January, its first sponsorship in Ireland. The €100k Coral Handicap Hurdle will run on the final day of the Festival, Saturday April 30th. Coral will sponsor all bar the last race on the opening day.

With regard to TV sponsorships, we have recently learned that RTE’s First Dates has been snapped up by an as yet to be named sponsor. This exciting property was on the market for €90k.

Moving on to radio, last month we highlighted Down to Business on Newstalk. This popular show was snapped up by Vodafone earlier this month for c. €170k.

As was mentioned last month, it’s an exciting time for sports sponsorship with the Euros and Olympics coming up in the summer.  Speaking of the Euros, CityJet was appointed as the official airline partner of the FAI this month in a six figure deal that will also see the airline fly the Irish squad to the championships this summer. Not only this, but the airline will also be offering Irish supporters discounts on flights. FAI chief executive John Delaney said that having an Irish airline as an official partner is important for the organisation.

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Olympic gold medalist, Katie Taylor helped launch Kellogg’s official sponsorship of Team Ireland for 2016 Olympic Games this month. The partnership will be promoted across a number of Kellogg’s brands and marks the beginning of Kellogg’s #greatstarts campaign which aims to promote and share stories of Irish Olympians such as Taylor.

In terms of current opportunities, there are naturally a huge number of packages surrounding the European Championships on the market at the moment across TV, radio, press and digital. One of the standout properties is on Newstalk and covers Euro 2016 updates across the station along with live events in France (c. €120k).

As we head (slowly) towards summer there are a number of events and festivals available for sponsorship. These include the Kilkenny Cat Laughs comedy festival, an exciting Irish country music festival called Cowboys and Heroes and the Irish Independent’s A Lust for Life. It seems that the sponsorship industry is just warming up for a very busy few months ahead.