GAA plan to call time on Guinness

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The GAA are strongly considering life without Guinness as they plan to revamp their All-Ireland championship sponsorship deals.

The Irish Mail on Sunday understands that, as part of making their senior football and hurling showpieces more attractive to prospective associate sponsors, they are prepared to also make their two under-age championships – minor and under-21 – available to backers as part of the complete package.

As a result, if the minor championship were included as part of such a package, there would be repercussions for blue chip sponsor Guinness as the GAA would not be in a position to accept an alcoholic beverage company as for underage competitions.

GAA commercial director Dermot Power last night confirmed that the Association is assessing its options and that amalgamating sponsorships of the three levels is a consideration.

“The championships are now coming to a close and we’ll shortly be sitting down to discuss matters,” said Power. “But yes we want to give sponsors added value across both games It’s early days yet but we’re looking to give value to everybody.”

Along with Ethiad Airlines, Guinness’ current associate sponsorship of the All-Ireland hurling championship ran out following this month’s All-Ireland SHC final. And while the Middle-East airline are unlikely to renew their interest, Guinness – whose association with the SHC goes back to 1995 – are believed to be as keen as ever to continue their relationship with the GAA .

Guinness’ sponsorship of the All-Ireland hurling championship has long been acclaimed to such an extent that it has now become synonymous with the competition.

No other company has done more to promote hurling but concerns have been raised about that the other two associate sponsors have become sidelined by the strength of Guinness’ marketing clout. There also remains a strong body within the GAA opposed to any form of alcohol sponsorship.

ESB, who currently sponsor both minor championships outright, and Bord Gais, the singular under-21 hurling sponsors, would be expected to battle it out to become associate sponsors of the three championships.


Source: The Mail on Sunday, 19/09/10
Journalists: John Fogarty, Philip Lanigan