Rugby drives 12 per cent rise in sponsorship

©INPHO/Billy Stickland

In what is traditionally the busier of the two-halves in a calendar year for sponsorship deals, 2018 continues to uncover growing levels of investment in sponsorship by businesses in Ireland, with Onside reporting a 12 per cent rise in sponsorship investments in Ireland in the first half of this year, with sport accounting for 60 per cent of deals.

Onside’s John Trainor says the year got off to a strong start with Aviva’s five-year extension of the Lansdowne Road stadium sponsorship, AIG’s sponsorship of Dublin GAA and Supermac’s support for Galway GAA. Landmark new venue deals included Energia’s deal with European Champions Leinster Rugby’s Donnybrook stadium.

Also listed was Nissan’s sponsorship of the driving school at Tayto Park. Strong year-on-year gains were made by rights holders across rugby, GAA, basketball and hockey in the first six months. Broadcast and cause and community-based announcements, including Boots new deal with the Irish Cancer Society’s Daffodil Day, were also ahead.

Onside identified less traditional big spenders, including business services firms like Grant Thornton’s partnership with Dublin Airport Fast Track, as well as B2B and tech sectors that are upping their sponsorship game. Many deals geared towards women’s sport and entertainment were completed in the year to date than across all of 2017.

Trainor notes a rise in sponsors’ investment in better rights activation. Nine in 10 Irish people have a sports sponsorship that appeals most to them to date in 2018 – up from two in three over the same period last year. Telcos again topped the Onside list of most appealing sport sponsors among Irish adults for the seventh quarter in a row.

Vodafone again retains the number one most appealing sports sponsor through a period of unprecedented success for the Irish rugby team.  Rugby and Community Games sponsor Aldi was also singled out as being noteworthy across both sport and non-sport investments in the past year, along with Bank of Ireland, Lidl and Heineken.

Despite the FIFA World Cup 2018, a quieter start to the year was recorded for soccer deals, although looking ahead, a new cycle is set to kick off shortly for UEFA Euro 2020 in 12 European cities, including Dublin in summer 2020. It is likely to reboot interest in soccer opportunities as sponsorship planning for 2019 begins this autumn.

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