Pat Spillane - Hurling has a big marketing problem that must be addressed. How many players can fans recognise?
Pat Spillane claims the GAA have scored a 'classic own goal' by failing to market their star players more.
Pointing to the exposure that the top Irish rugby internationals receive when it comes to marketing campaigns, Spillane says the GAA should be doing more to promote their biggest names.
Writing in his column in today's Sunday World, the Kerry legend says that hurling has a particular problem, and that many of the sport's top talents aren't known to the wider public as they must wear helmets on the field.
"One thing that struck me watching the All Stars is how few of the hurlers I recognised," Spillane said.
"I regard myself as a fan of hurling but I only recognised about a third of the team. Ever since the GAA made it compulsory for players to wear helmets and face guards this has been a problem, and it needs to be addressed."
Spillane also hit out at the 'public relations industry' and said that advertisers are too focused on rugby players, to the detriment of GAA stars.
"Players are the GAA's 'crown jewels' but unfortunately they are rarely seen or heard off the field," Spillane said.
"This is a classic own goal by the GAA. The IRFU are very proactive in promoting their star players. As a result, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray and Sean O'Brien are instantly recognisable and have become role models for thousands of Irish children.
"It galls me that GAA superstars like Ciaran Kilkenny, Cian Lynch, Joe Canning or David Clifford aren't at the forefront of a Corke Park campaign promoting our games.
"The fault doesn't just lie with Croke Park, although there is a marked reluctance on their part to market and promote their superstars. The Dublin-based public relations industry are utterly obsessed with rugby and do not give GAA's leading players a fair crack of the whip when it comes to endorsement deals."
Read Pat Spillane's full column in today's Sunday World.