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GAA is one of country's iconic brands, so it must play ball with the media

Up to recent years, the top three superpowers in Ireland were the Catholic Church, Fianna Fail and the GAA.

The Church was rocked by child sex scandals and its firm stand on liberal issues.

FF got too cosy with developers and big business. But love of hurling and football runs deep and remains unblemished in the hearts of the GAA's many grassroots members.

The GAA brand is Ireland's sports king and Croke Park the jewel in its crown.

From the Bank of Ireland ads with fans painted in county colours to the award-winning Kellogg's Cul Camps for kids, the GAA attracts big sponsors.

With the new season underway, Allianz, Ulster Bank, SuperValu-Centra, Guinness, Eircom and Etihad pay out for payback.

But marketing-wise, the GAA is losing out for no good reason. In his annual report, GAA director general Paraic Duffy speaks about the efforts made last year to promote the championships.

Duffy points to the need for more co-operation with the media. The problem is some counties still ban the media from interviewing players and managers before the big games.

Missing

Duffy (pictured left) admits such action – or rather inaction – undermines GAA efforts to market its games.

While the players are amateurs and some of them don't like doing interviews, others enjoy the experience.

The GAA is missing out on raising its profile.

It's not as if anyone is asking players to be widely available to journalists as Premier League footballers are in England, but GAA fans and sponsors deserve more.

If the ban is done away with entirely, the big winner will be the GAA brand itself.


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