Sponsors spent €212m last year

The Irish sponsorship market grew by eight per cent to reach €212 million and spend this year is expected to improve by seven per cent to €227m, surpassing the previous pre-pandemic peak of €224m in 2019. A report by the Onside agency says that following the third consecutive year of growth, 46 per cent of sponsors intend to increase their investment in 2024, while 18 per cent – almost one in five – expect their spend to decrease.

Onside CEO John Trainor said demand for premium properties will continue to outstrip supply with six in 10 sponsors considering new assets this year – the same as in 2023 – and only a third planning to quit current sponsorships, down from 47 per cent in 2023 and the lowest predicted churn rate for a decade. Festivals and rugby will see most growth, narrowly ahead of GAA, community, diversity and inclusion and the Olympics.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games will be the highlight of the sponsorship calendar with 86 per cent of experts expecting the Olympics to impact on the sponsorship landscape in 2024, much higher than predictions for the 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC). The impact of the RWC helped the IRFU retain its status as the most effective rights holder and three of its sponsors – Vodafone, Aldi and Guinness – were among the year’s top campaigns.


Outside of sport, Live Nation was second on the list of rights holders, ahead of the FAI and the GAA. Three’s portfolio of music sponsorships also featured on the list alongside Allianz’s partnership with Women’s Aid and PTSB’s broadcast deal with The Late Late Show. Retired Ireland rugby captain Johnny Sexton and sprinter Rhasidat Adeleke finished joint top of a list that had an even split between male and female sports stars.

Katie Taylor, despite her victory over Chantelle Cameron, dropped from first to third place. She now sits narrowly ahead of Ireland and Arsenal’s Katie McCabe. “Ireland didn’t win the men’s Rugby World Cup but the event strengthened the marketing appeal of the team and its highest profile players. We know from almost two decades of research tracking that the value of top talent as ambassadors can endure into retirement,” Trainor said.


2024 will be the foundation of a five-year cycle in which global factors will have a positive impact locally. Events such as the Ryder Cup in 2027 and the men’s Euros in 2028 have the potential to generate up to €35m in sponsorship value. The top activation channels this year will be social media and video sharing platforms like TikTok, with at least seven in 10 sponsors expecting to use them to a greater extent than they did last year.

While the integration of AI is called out as a global trend in sponsorship, only a small portion of the industry in Ireland is using the tech for sponsorships. The most common use-case is to analyse sponsorship-related data. Interest in exploiting venue naming rights has increased following a 10-year low in 2023, and amid a high-profile debate about the interest Musgrave has in renaming Cork’s Páirc Ui Chaoimh GAA stadium SuperValu Páirc.

Three in 10 rights holders say they are actively exploring options.

Bank of Ireland sponsors Ireland’s four provinces. Pictured is Leinster’s Garry Ringrose 

Privacy Policy | Cookies Policy