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Who are the biggest sponsors of Irish football?

Written by Contributor, on 22nd May 2023. Posted in General

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Sponsorship is crucial to the success and development of sports worldwide, and it’s an industry experiencing a global boom that’s not expected to stop any time soon. Irish football’s no exception to this – sponsorship deals provide financial support to teams across the scope of league and club football.

Some huge companies have already invested in Irish football but there’s still plenty of opportunity for growth within an important national sport.

The current landscape

Right now, there are some massive sponsors associated with Irish football, both for the national team and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI). Three Ireland, a popular mobile phone company, have been one of the primary sponsors of the Irish national team since 2010, and they’ve just renewed their sponsorship with another four-year deal totalling €7.5m, which includes jersey branding and marketing efforts.

Aviva is another big sponsor of Irish football. They scored naming rights on the Aviva stadium in Dublin, which is the home of the Irish Rugby Football Union as well as the national team. This came with great exposure for Aviva during international matches and events.

Even as recently as April this year, Sports Direct were announced as Northern Ireland’s Football League’s title sponsor for both the Premiership and the Women’s Premiership. It’s the biggest commercial deal in the history of the league, believed to be in excess of £100,000 per year. The Sport’s Direct Women’s Premiership will kick off first, later this month, and once both leagues are up and running, the deal should make for a great return on investment for the company.

Closing opportunities

Currently, the business of sports sponsorship is a changing industry, with opportunities opening in many non-traditional avenues. But some long-standing associations are changing. After recently announced crackdowns on the gambling industry in Ireland, certain sponsorship opportunities are seeing an end date looming in the future. Gambling sponsorship has always been a made-match for sports, with each industry feeding the other through online betting and returned investment. If gambling giants such as Betway wanted to take the chance to invest in Irish football, it’d be a great time to do so before the industry loses advertisement opportunities in Ireland altogether.

Opportunities for sponsorship growth

The current landscape of sponsorship in Irish football is promising and the interest of several large companies clearly showcases the profitability of sponsorship in the sport. There are many directions in which businesses can take the growth of the football sponsorship industry from here.

A top focus should be in league and club sponsorship – backing a top-tier professional league would promise significant exposure and branding rights. Irish football has a passionate fanbase and it would be a great opportunity for any major corporation to engage with this group.

At club level, sponsorship would have a significant impact on the growth of a team. Typical marketing investments such as player development and infrastructure would provide financial stability to smaller clubs. Among such a tight-knit group, sponsors could expect to create a strong brand presence with loyal supporters.

Growing the sponsorship industry is rooted in the growth of football in Ireland itself. Grassroots investment is crucial for the long-term sustainability of the sport and is a fantastic way for sponsors to put their name to a good cause. By putting money into youth academies, coaching programmes and community initiatives, sponsors will foster the development of talent and fund the growth of their own industry. It’s inevitable that positive associations will be created as a result of their commitment to the local football community.

A final mention goes to the growing importance of digital engagement for sponsorship. Sponsors can collaborate with social media influencers and digital content creators on a large number of platforms and football websites. Good engagement will see brand reach blossom, and a well-constructed social media campaign will create a meaningful connection with the target demographic.

The importance of women’s football

Women’s football is on the up, and Ireland in particular have made strong inroads into promoting women’s football to the same level as that of the men’s game, with season passes covering both leagues and all games receiving more equalized game slots. Sponsorship investments would align themselves with a positive movement, tapping into an emerging market and showcasing their commitment to equality and diversity.

Onside, a sponsorship consultancy, recently released a report naming the most marketable Irish personalities, with the top four being women and including Irish team captain Katie McCabe. Coach Vera Pauw and players Amber Barrett and Niamh Fahey are all mentioned on the list. It’s clear there are big sponsorship opportunities coming up in Irish women’s football.

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