Ballygowan in full flow with new €100,000 Munster deal
BRITVIC has strengthened its sponsorship ties with Munster rugby by signing a new deal which sees Ballygowan become the official bottled water to the new Thomond Park stadium in Limerick. The deal allows the UK drinks group, which bought Ballygowan from C&C, exclusive pouring rights at the new 26,500-seater stadium.
Britvic was not prepared to give details of the five-year deal. But industry sources say that taking everything into account -- cash, pouring rights and providing free bottled water to Munster's senior and under-20 teams -- the deal is worth about €100,000 a year.
Over the next five years, Munster players are due to consume about 100,000 litres of bottled water, sourced at Newcastlewest. Sian Price, senior brand manager, Britvic Ireland, said they have new Ballygowan ads with the line 'Made in Munster'.
Price said Munster was a huge rugby brand and its replica shirts were second only to the All Blacks in popularity. Ballygowan first developed links with Munster three years ago after they had signed up former New Zealand star Jonah Lomu to launch its sports bottle. Munster captain Paul O'Connell has since featured in promotions.
The Munster deal is one of several agreements made between soft drinks marketers and sports in Ireland. Coca-Cola Bottlers has a deal with the IRFU, supplying Powerade to the Ireland rugby squad. Captain Brian O'Driscoll was criticised for giving too much prominence to the isotonic drink in post-match TV interviews.
GlaxoSmithKline uses Munster and Ireland fly half Ronan O'Gara, Newcastle and Ireland winger Damien Duff and Kerry footballer Colm Cooper in campaigns for Lucozade Sport. GAA stars like Cork's Sean Og O hAlpin have fronted for Britvic's Club Energise, while its Energise Sport drink has links with camogie.