Business

Monday 25 September 2017

Green Army still flying the 'brand' flag

THE Irish soccer team may have flopped at Euro 2012 but their award-winning fans are worth millions in sponsorship and royalties, say sports marketing analysts, to the point where the Green Army has now become a bigger draw for soccer sponsors than their team which performed so miserably.

By their impeccable behaviour and spirit at the recent Euro finals, Irish fans have apparently made the difference to national soccer-focused marketing, promo and advertising which is forecast to increase next year by 5pc to €16.5m -- arresting a three-year decline says John Trainor, chief executive of Onside Sponsorship, a leading analyst of sponsorship trends.

Until now soccer promo deals had been sliding -- down 6pc in 2010, 4pc in 2011 and an expected 1pc slip this year.

Mr Trainor says corporate sponsors are fast shifting the focus of their attentions from the players to the fans themselves in an effort to sell their goods and services.

"While the results might have been bad, sponsors deem the whole overall experience to have been a good one because of the fans and the enthusiasm they bring, and they still want to be very much associated with that.

"Because the Sky+ option has removed many of the adverts on TV, it is increasingly important to get your logo to the event itself. Despite no logos being allowed on the team strip, jersey sponsorship is still regarded as being very important -- because sponsors will instead see their value through TV shots of fans in the crowd.

"Irish sponsors tend to take a long view of five years or more and will often overlook a poor performance in one particular tournament. We don't see enthusiasm waning for the sport itself, no more than the fact that support for Liverpool or Manchester United won't fade because they do badly in one tournament.

"There's far less focus on individuals in the soccer team now because there isn't really any one single player that stands out -- like a Brian O'Driscoll."

The trend toward "fan power" for sponsorship and promo is international. "In Britain we see Sharp, sponsoring the best fans of the tournament competition and in the Champions League we have seen Heineken produce a highly successful app that lets fans participate by predicting how corner kicks will turn out. They get points for success," adds Mr Trainor.

Grainne O'Brien joins Murray board

GRAINNE O'Brien has been appointed to the board of Murray Consultants Ltd as an executive director.

Ms O'Brien manages a portfolio of financial and consumer-facing clients within MCsquared (MC2) -- the consumer and brands division of Murray Consultants. She has past experience across sectors including: financial services, food and nutrition, healthcare, retail, hospitality and leisure. Grainne joined Murray Consultants in 1998 from Macra na Feirme.

A former journalist and radio producer, she is a member of the PRII and a council member of the Marketing Society of Ireland.

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