The schools are out and even the sun seems determined to stick around - summer is here. With 4 months to go until the Irish Sponsorship Awards, this summer promises to be one of the most innovative, engaging and competitive in the history of Irish Sponsorship.
Last week, nostalgia kicked in as the nation remembered the highs of Italia ’90. Twenty-five years ago we basked in the glory of a famous Quarter Final in the World Cup and Opel the team sponsor basked in the glory of a four-year deal estimated at £100,000 per annum rising to only £125,000 for the subsequent deal – a good piece of business and a highly successful sponsorship for Opel.
25 years on and the sponsorship industry is looking very healthy in Ireland with the recession behind us and confidence evident across brands and rights holders. Team sponsorship fees may have risen significantly since 1990 but the opportunity to capitalise on Irish sporting euphoria and the fans constant thirst for content remains. This summer promises to provide a feast of entertainment from sport but also music, arts, culture, fund raising and community events.
Music will feature heavily in this year’s sponsorship awards as several brands are gearing up to ensure they are adding value to the fans experience and maximizing the value from their sponsorship partnerships. In 2014, Heineken Sound Atlas took top honours bringing the sites and sounds of Berlin and Brooklyn to Longitude and Electric Picnic respectively. This year Heineken Sound Atlas presents Tokyo in what could promise to the most exciting activation at this year’s festivals. Vodafone Centre Stage will also make several appearances across the country this year with a mix of music and comedy at some of Ireland’s best-loved events. How will Electric Ireland follow the hugely successful Bonnie Tyler campaign from 2014 and Mr. Motivator from 2013? Bacardi will be ever present across the two marquee festivals with their Casa Bacardi activation. And Three have stepped up their presence in music off the back of the re branding of the Three Arena, their Live Nation partnership at Electric Picnic and Longitude and their launch of ThreePlus. It’s a hugely competitive category this year with one guaranteed winner being the music fan as brands look to engage with meaningful and insightful activation. We will take a more in depth look at music sponsorship next time around.
Ones to watch – Sport
Rugby fans have been waiting for this World Cup for four years and the momentum built up by the Irish team gives good reasons for us all to be excited during the summer build up. The Rugby World Cup is on our doorstep and fans will treated to an array of opportunities to get involved, have their say, win tickets and once in a lifetime experiences. It’s too early to see what’s planned but we can be sure that tournament sponsors Heineken, DHL, Emirates as well as team sponsors Three, Aer Lingus and Guinness will be using their sponsorships to engage fans of all ages from avids through to arm chair supporters as World Cup hysteria kicks in.
The GAA Championship is in full swing and is heavily supported by new Championship sponsor AIB with the highly insightful and impactful #TheToughest campaign. This is sponsorship activation at its best and it demonstrates real understanding of fans and local communities as well as building affinity with the brand. Supervalu and Centra are again offering GAA tickets through local stores helping to drive footfall as well as accessibility and local support. Etihad are bringing a local feel to their sponsorship with their ‘Raise The Bar’ campaign as are team sponsors AIG who will offer exclusive content and promotions to Dubs fans.
And of course the SSE Airtricity League continues, the new Premier League season will kick-off (the last year for long-time sponsors Barclays) as well as numerous runs, cycling events, community festivals and charitable events with support from brands such as Laya Healthcare, Samsung, Life Style Sports, Ulster Bank, Fáilte Ireland and many more.
It’s a very competitive landscape and rightly so. Our proprietary impact modeling continually provides evidence of the value of effective and insightful sponsorship engagement and how it contributes way beyond awareness and association into key brand drivers, consideration, loyalty and ultimately the value to the bottom line.
Throughout the summer we will take a closer look at some of the best sponsorship campaigns as well as in depth studies of the music sponsorship scene, Cause Marketing, Sponsorship Evaluation and the Rugby World Cup.
It promises to be an action packed summer and another great year to celebrate the best of Irish Sponsorship.
Daragh Persse Founder The Brand Fans
Daragh Persse is the founder and CEO of The Brand Fans, Ireland’s most experienced sponsorship specialists. They are a full service sponsorship agency that focus on creating long-lasting and valuable relationships between brands and fans.