Congratulations to all those who won at last night’s Irish Sponsorship Awards in the Round Room of the Mansion House. It was a night of celebration for Sport for Business members who took away no fewer than 12 of the prizes on offer.
The Sporting Event Sponsorship was one of the most hotly contested prizes but it was a well-deserved win for SSE Airtricity and their #TwentyThousandVoices partnership with the Dublin Marathon.
It is an impressive way to exit for the brand who this year were involved for the last time with the race and who will be refocussing their award-winning sponsorship team in other areas for 2019.
“It was a great partnership and we wish both the event and the new sponsor KBC Bank well for the next stage of its growth,” SSE Airtricity Sponsorship Manager Áine Plunkett told us last night.
“Our parting was well known in advance and very amicable. We have had handover discussions with KBC Bank and while it was a great event to be involved with we are happy that it has been passed into good hands.”
“This is a great parting gift to win the award and is a tribute to a big team effort, especially the leadership of Leanne Sheill in bringing it so effectively to another level.”
The Best Sports Team or Athlete Sponsorship was another close run affair with Aer Lingus just edging ahead in the final reckoning for their partnership with the Irish Rugby Team.
Lidl and Ladies Football were double award winners taking the prize for Best Multi-Platform Sponsorship and for Best use of Social Media.
They were among what seemed like half the room who had started the day with us at the Sport for Business Women in Sport Conference in RTÉ and finished cradling the impressive slate awards.
Three carried off the Sponsorship Team Award in the Brand category with Karl Donnelly, Gavin McAllister, Orla Lawlor and Louise Carey on hand to collect.
Titan Experience took the same award in the Agency category. It has been a big year for Eoin Conroy, Declan Byrne and their impressive team and this was just reward for the hard work.
Live Nation carried off the Team Award in the Rights Holder category.
The Brand Fans, who were our hosts for the night landed the Best Arts and Cultural Sponsorship for the Seachtain na Gaeilge partnership with Energia.
Basketball Ireland and Hula Hoops summer takeover of Dundrum Shopping Centre won the Award for best use of Experiential Marketing. It was a great example of a sporting body reaching out beyond its core audience and scoring well with a very happy sponsor.
We were delighted when two of our Sport for Business 30 Under 30 were shortlisted in the Rising Star category, and while Leanne Sheill had to settle for the Sports Event Award with SSE Airtricity, Pippa Doyle from Littlewoods Ireland was a popular winner of the category, following in the footsteps of last year’s winner and fellow 30 Under 30 graduate Amy Lynch.
The evening started well for Teneo who were involved in the first two awards of the night lifting best use of PR for the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon and the Best Use of Digital with Shireen McDonagh and the team from Life Style Sports for the work on #LiveLeinster and #LiveMunster.
Rugby was also a winner with Aldi capturing the coveted award for Best Grassroots Sponsorship for the Play Rugby campaign.
The final award of the night went to Just Eat who won Best Sponsorship Brand for their Just Eat dublinbikes sponsorship campaign and Best TV Broadcast Sponsorship for Just Eat delivers Love Island on Virgin Media. The latter of these was also announced as Sponsorship of the Year.
These things are always subjective to a point but the judging panel including Conor Cullen from the FAI, Jim Geraghty from Heineken and Selda Simsek from Laya Healthcare can be happy with their deliberations.
Those who missed out last night will have been disappointed but the energy and effort that goes into sponsorship in Ireland is at an incredibly high level and we expect there will be more recognition at the European Sponsorship Awards early in the New Year.