Home News Vodafone and Allianz Top Onside Poll as Best Sponsorships of 2023

Vodafone and Allianz Top Onside Poll as Best Sponsorships of 2023

Rory Sheridan, Head of Partnerships at Diageo, John Trainor, CEO & Founder, Onside and Irish Rugby legend and Guinness Brand Ambassador, Brian O’Driscoll.

Vodafone and its partnership with Irish Rugby and Allianz Ireland’s sponsorship of Women’s Aid were voted as the most effective sponsorships of 2023 by the Irish marketing community as part of research undertaken by sponsorship consultancy Onside.

Details of the top sponsorships were unveiled at an industry gathering in the Aviva Stadium this week, jointly hosted by Onside and the Marketing Institute of Ireland.  The event was attended by leading marketers, sports professionals and administrators. According to Onside, the two brands were recognised as trailblazers in what was a very busy year for Irish sport and the sponsorship industry.

Sponsorship continues to be one of the fast growing elements of the marketing mix, rising to €212m in 2023, up 8% on the year before. Ireland’s women’s team qualifying for their first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup and the recently concluded Rugby World Cup contributing to this growth.

“In another busy year for sponsorship in Ireland, fuelled by landmark major events including the FIFA Women’s Football World Cup and the Men’s Rugby World Cup, there has been growing recognition of the effectiveness of engaging sponsorship activations in contributing to brand equity. Almost 60% of marketing professionals surveyed felt sponsorship campaigns by brands like Vodafone, Guinness and Aldi around the Rugby World Cup and brands like Sky with the Irish Women’s Football Team were highly effective in delivering for sponsors,” says John Trainor, founder and CEO of Onside.

Trainor adds: “Purpose driven sponsorships have been judged particularly strongly as best practise by marketing budget holders in terms of their return for a business or brand. When viewed through this lens, our research of the MII members base found Allianz and Vodafone’s links with Women’s Aid, and Electric Ireland’s support of Pieta as standout trailblazers outside of sport in Ireland. Music and arts related partnerships such as Guinness with Music and An Post with reading, as well as entertainment venue partners such as 3 Ireland links with The 3Arena and The 3Olympia and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre sponsorship were also held up as beacons for businesses looking to enter the sponsorship arena in the coming year.” Other brands making up the Top Sponsors across sport and non-sport included Aer Lingus, AIB, AIG, Aviva, Bank of Ireland, Cadbury, Fáilte Ireland, Heineken, and Lidl.”

Shane McGonigle, CEO of the Marketing Institute Ireland adds that: “Sponsorship offers brands the unique opportunity to share values through common experiences be it sports, entertainment, arts, culture or causes. Today we saw commercially successful examples from multiple industries and ‘events’, proving the value of marketing strategy executed through performance driven sponsorship programmes.”

The new research undertaken by Onside also deemed Bundee Aki to be the No 1 most marketable Irish sports star for 2024, followed by recently retired Johnny Sexton, and Ireland’s Women’s Football Team Captain Katie McCabe in third place. FAI and Premier League striker Evan Ferguson and Olympic 2024 hopeful Rhasidat Adeleke rounded out the Top 5.

According to Gerry Nixon,  head of sponsorship & insights, Vodafone: “We are delighted to be recognised by our peers and the public at the ‘Who Won Sponsorship Series 2023’. Its great recognition for our ‘Connections you can rely on’ campaign around the World Cup, but more importantly it bodes well for the future of our recently extended partnership with the IRFU for a further 4 years to 2028. Our sponsorship with Irish Rugby gives a Vodafone an unrivalled platform to bring to life the transformational potential of our roll out of 5G through our use of the technology to enhance the experiences of fans and the players themselves. The partnership allows us to  give fans access to exclusive content whilst, player and coaches benefit from the Vodafone Technical Area fuelling their analysis capabilities enabling Irish rugby to adjust training performance in real time.”

Trainor concludes that “the fact that 2023 has delivered strong TV wins and new fans from the Women’s World Cup and Rugby World Cup will convince more brands to make use of sponsorship in general for the next 3-5 years.  Rights holders in Irish sport like the IRFU and in entertainment like Live Nation, are developing multi-pronged approaches to revolutionize sponsorships role in their organisations, out-performing industry expectations and it is paying off in terms of new and renewed revenues year-over-year.”

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