Saturday 25 November 2017

Goal-den opportunity for fans of freebies

Bookmaker Paddy Power is backing Euro 2012 scoring giveaways -- in the hope of boosting sales, says Roisin Burke

Paddy Power is backing "cash for goals" giveaways by retailers aiming to get a sales boost on the strength of this month's upcoming soccer euphoria.

The bookie owns Airton Risk Management, which underwrites hotels, clothes sellers, TV stores and big football bodies to give cash back and free stuff away for goals or wins during the European Championships.

For example, Dublin-based men's clothing label Counterpropaganda harnessed the soccer buzz with its 'free clothes if Ireland qualifies' promo. It will refund the full price of jeans, T-shirts and all other clothes bought over a fortnight if the Irish team gets through to the quarter-finals. Airton's eggheads worked out the odds and fine print and are underwriting the risk.

"It was a no-strings attached, very decent proposition," says Airton's Rod O'Callaghan. "Ireland has a decent chance of getting out of that group," he added, optimistically.

"A lot of the stuff we do is outside Ireland, as marketing budgets here are tight," he added.

While in Britain Curry's and PC World are giving customers back a tenner for every goal England scores, and Domino's Pizza is doing a pizza-for-goals promo, they aren't extending this generosity to customers in their Irish markets.

The biggest cash-for-goal offer here is by Bobby Kerr's Insomnia, which is giving customers a free coffee each time Ireland scores a goal. Rival Costa Coffee will also hand out free coffees when Ireland scores in a tie-up with Meteor.

Cash for wins can be seriously pricey. Airton worked with a huge German electrical goods seller for the 2008 World Cup that promised to refund €100 for every goal Germany scored in the final, and customers got back hundreds of millions of euros. A Boston store, Jordan's Furniture, had to return €20m to customers when the Red Sox won the baseball World Series.

Airton also underwrites 'cash for goals' tempters for players for several of the world's major football associations. "They'll get paid bonuses by Uefa, say €500,000 for a draw and €1m for winning," O'Callaghan explains.

Another Airton client is a Poznan hotel where one of the Euro 2012 teams is staying. "If the team wins, the hotel will give it the money bag for its digs," says O'Callaghan, "if it gets to the semi-final it will get half a refund."

During the last World Cup Jetlogic, the British private plane company that flew the WAGs to South Africa threw in the sweetener that they would refund the £250,000 charter price if England won, which turned out to be a safe bet.

"If Ireland starts progressing, people might just decide to do more of this as a pop-up promotion, maybe run it online in the next few days," said O'Callaghan.

Pizza Hut did just that during the last World Cup. Capitalising on the infamous Thierry Henry handball incident, it offered its Facebook fans a free pizza for every goal scored against France -- but wisely capped the promotion at 350 pizzas per goal.

At least Domino's does have an smartphone Euro goal gambit that Irish fans are included in, so they can get a few slices of pizza love.

Its Domigoals app rewards the first 1,000 people to hit a button every time a goal is scored during the championship. One goal by one player in any game gets you a fiver off a pizza, two goals by one player means you get a tenner voucher and a hat-trick by one player in any game means you get get a giant pizza, with a €20-off voucher.

In a show of unusual largesse for its customers Michael O'Leary's Ryanair has been swept up in the Euro 2012 excitement, but it's only including its British flyers in the fun.

The budget airline is releasing 500 £12 (€15) 'Goal-den tickets' for every goal scored by England throughout the tournament, giving money off for flights from July to August whenever Steven Gerrard and the rest of the England lads hit the back of the net.

It could end up costing the airline the bones of about €250,000. But what about a bit of 'Goal-den' ticket action for Trap's Army, eh, Michael?

Naturally the bookies are all over the goals for wins action. Paddy Power is giving money back to punters if Ireland beats Croatia, and cash back on other country wins as well.

Even local pubs are getting in on the action, with drinks and food freebies for goal scoring.

So keep those goals coming, boys. . . Hic.

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