Financial boost for hurling championship
Littlewoods Ireland are set to become sponsors of the All-Ireland senior hurling championships, with another new backer also being lined up.
An announcement that Littlewooods - an online department store - will join the championships' multi-sponsor model is expected shortly. There are rumours that two of the current hurling sponsors, Liberty Insurance and Etihad Airways could be about to end their association with the hurling championship. Centra are expected to continue, leaving Littlewoods and another company to sponsor hurling, with AIB, Eir and Supervalu remaining as football's backers.
The GAA moved to a multi-sponsor model in 2008, with six companies sharing the All-Ireland senior hurling and football championships. That followed lengthy title sponsor arrangements which featured Bank Of Ireland backing the football championship since 1994 and Guinness coming aboard in hurling a year later.
The Guinness sponsorship was widely regarded as one of the most successful in Irish sport, with an innovative advertising campaign proving very popular. And with six different counties (Clare twice, Wexford, Offaly, Cork, Kilkenny and Tipperary) winning the All-Ireland between 1995 and 2001, hurling enjoyed a massive profile.
Guinness continued as part of the multi-sponsor arrangement until 2013. The GAA came under regular attacks for dealing with an alcoholic drinks company, with the pressure finally paying off when the association was ended three years ago.
Guinness were replaced by Liberty Insurance.