One of the agenda items for the next Government when it is formed will be the question of where to next with an approach to alcohol sponsorship within sport.
The question of alcohol sponsorship has however been considered and accepted as a normal, regulated part of the commercial landscape, just as it is in other areas of life overseas as well as in Ireland.
Last week two big new deals were signed between Liverpool FC and Carlsberg and the England Cricket Board and Fosters.
The Liverpool deal is a three year extension to an existing 25 year partnership as the official beer supplier. According to the announcement of the deal some 6.2 million pints of Carlsberg have been served at Liverpool’s Anfield ground over the course of the relationship.
“The sponsorship agreement is a good example of our re-focused strategy to invest in consumer facing and efficient sponsorships,” said Mikkel Pilemand, a Vice President with Carlsberg Group.
“Football continues to be a key beer occasion. And football will remain a key pillar of the Carlsberg brand, both short and longer term. We already have some very promising activation ideas for 2017.”
The ECB has taken the step towards appointing an official beer partner for the first time and has chosen Fosters who were sponsors of the England team ten years ago. The brand will have perimeter signage, association and player appearance rights as well as on-site activity at Test matches through the summer and an opportunity to develop pouring rights agreements with the various county grounds.
Carlsberg wil be to the fore in terms of sponsorship of the Euro 2016 Championships this summer and both Heineken and Guinness are ramping up activity around the conclusion to the domestic and European rugby seasons.
With recent reports of a continued drop in per capita alcohol consumption and being below the European average in terms of youth drinking, it may be that Government attention will look elsewhere but the indication was that the whole area would be reviewed and eventually phased out. It looks like that would be a stance out of step with global trends.