GAA secure €3.6m deal
The GAA will unveil eircom as one of their latest partnership sponsors for the All-Ireland football championship on Monday.
The communications company will sign a three-year deal thought to be worth in the region of €3.6m to have the its brand linked with Irish sport's most high-profile competition.
Negotiations have been ongoing for months now since eircom ended their association with the Irish soccer team last year.
The money is understood to be less than what the GAA were commanding when they opened their sponsorship to partners for the 2008 season, but that is understandable in the current climate.
The new deal represents good business for the GAA at a time when the market is somewhat depressed.
The partnership model has seen quite a turnover of sponsors since it began, with Toyota, Ulster Bank and Vodafone the first brands to be associated with the football championship.
Toyota pulled out after two championship and were replaced last year by Supervalu. Vodafone didn't seek to renew their sponsorship as they concentrated on their Dublin account and they have also stepped away from the All Stars.
Ulster Bank were involved for all three years and it is understood that they are currently renegotiating a further three years with the GAA.
Commercial revenue has held steady for the GAA over the last two years, with the figure close to €20m in 2009 and 2010. It is eircom's first major venture into GAA sponsorship, but they have had a long association with Special Olympics Ireland.
The GAA are still seeking a sponsor for the All Stars after Vodafone's departure, with Bord Gais, current sponsors of the U-21 hurling championships, one of the names being touted.
Meanwhile, the controversial safety barrier surrounding Hill 16 will be reinstalled for this year's Allianz League finals, but Croke Park officials insist it has nothing to do with Dublin's involvement.
Dublin's footballers have already qualified for the Division 1 final which ensures there will be a big crowd at HQ on April 24. But stadium director Peter McKenna said they had intended to put up the barriers irrespective of who would be involved in the league deciders.
"It (the barrier) was always going to go up anyway," McKenna said. "That was always our intention and it's not a reflection of Dublin being in the final at all."