It has been another six months for the Irish sponsorship industry with a 12% increase in sponsorship investment according to the sports consultancy firm Onside.
According to Onside, sport continues to command a lion’s share of the sponsorship activity in Ireland in 2018, with 6 in 10 deals reported so far this year played out in the sports arena. It was also busy start in terms of high-profile major renewal deals including Aviva’s 5 year extension of the Aviva Stadium sponsorship, AIG’s sponsorship of Dublin GAA, and Supermac’s tie with Galway GAA. Landmark new venue deals included Energia’s deal with European Champions Leinster Rugby’s Donnybrook Stadium and the Nissan Driving school sponsorship at Tayto Park.
“Strong year on year gains were made by rights holders across Rugby, GAA, basketball, and hockey in particular in the first half of 2018. Meanwhile broadcast and cause and community-based announcements, including Boots new deal with the Irish Cancer Society’s Daffodil Day, were also significantly ahead so far this year,” according to Onside’s sponsorship market monitor.
“Sectors most active in terms of closing new deals included financial services and retail, with the auto sector also driving more deals in H1 2018 than the same period in 2017.” Other areas of momentum included brands in what Trainor identified as ‘less traditional big spenders’ including firms in the professional services, including Grant Thornton’s innovative partnership with Dublin Airport Fast Track service, as well as B2B and tech based sectors that are “upping their game in this sponsorship arena,” says John Trainor, founder and CEO of Onside.
“Also noteworthy is the continued momentum behind brands developing sponsorship deals geared specifically toward women’s sport and entertainment, with as many such deals completed in the year to date than across all of 2017,” he adds.
In terms of the Irish public’s buy-in to sponsors advances, Trainor notes “a sharp rise in admiration for sponsors has developed so far this year as sponsors invest in better activation of their rights.” 9 in 10 Irish people have a sports sponsorship that appeals most to them to date in 2018 – up from 2 in 3 the same period last year.
Telecoms brands again topped the Onside list of most appealing sport sponsors among Irish adults for the seventh quarter in a row, with Vodafone again retaining the No.1 most appealing sports sponsor through a period of unprecedented success for the Irish Rugby team. Rugby and Community Games sponsor Aldi also was also singled out by the public research as being noteworthy across both sport and non-sport investments in the past 12 months, while sponsors Bank of Ireland, Lidl and Heineken also show good momentum in the latest research.
Despite the FIFA World Cup 2018, a quieter start to the year was recorded for soccer related sponsorship deals, although looking ahead to the second half of the year, the ONSIDE consultants note that a new cycle set to kick off shortly for UEFA Euro 2020 in 12 different European cities including Dublin in summer 2020 will undoubtedly reboot interest in soccer opportunities as sponsorship planning for 2019 begins this autumn.