RTE terminate hurling deal
Just as one GAA sponsorship void was being filled by SuperValu for the football championship, another one emerged yesterday as RTE confirmed that they would not be renewing their partnership sponsorship of the All-Ireland hurling championship.
The national broadcaster was never expected to continue once the 2009 championship had concluded, so it came as no surprise. But the GAA are confident that a successor to RTE will be found quickly.
Guinness and Etihad Airways, the other hurling sponsorship partners, have already pledged commitment to another two-year term with ESB, Bord Gais and Ladbrokes among those being mentioned as potentially completing the triumvirate.
SuperValu were apparently on that shortlist to sponsor the hurling championship having also been involved in negotiations to sponsor Dublin GAA, a deal that went Vodafone's way.
The GAA are understandably happy with the SuperValu agreement as the grocery chain has in excess of 200 outlets on the island, opening new avenues to market the games.
The deal is for three years with Ulster Bank and Vodafone -- the other two sponsors of the football championship -- committed for this season only.
Vodafone's link with Dublin could force a further change to football in 2011 but there is confidence in Croke Park that Ulster Bank will be interested again.
But how much sponsors are willing to pay for partnership association with GAA championships is open to question in the current climate.
Two years ago the GAA were able to negotiate partnership deals worth in excess of €16m over two and three years respectively for both championships.
There have been suggestions that current sponsors have looked to reduce the amount of money they pay, but GAA president Christy Cooney was adamant yesterday that the strength of the association's brand remains.
He answered with an emphatic "no" when pressed on a possible reduction in what would be paid for this latest deal.
"We don't ever reveal financial arrangements but needless to say this is a fantastic deal for the association," said Cooney. "It is in line (with other sponsorships financially), absolutely. We have a strong brand and we take pride in that. That brand is invaluable to the association and is something that, even in the economic climate, is very valuable."
Meanwhile, Kilkenny hurlers have renewed their long association with Glanbia and will wear the Avonmore logo again over the next three years.
And in Galway, Supermac's have extended their sponsorship of the county senior, U-21 and minor hurling teams for another two years.