It’s what you’d call a mad busy time in sponsorship announcements around the GAA Championships.
We’ve had Bord Gais Energy and Littlewoods out the door early with Centra completing the Hurling Line Up this week. AIB will follow early next week and then eir and Supervalu will be looking for their moment in the spotlight.
In the midst of the action and the marketing Benetti, the menswear brand who are official partners of the FAI slipped through a sliver of space yesterday and have grabbed plenty of attention with their unveiling of a group of inter-county hurling and football Ambassadors for this season.
We heard yesterday from Pippa Doyle of Littlewoods that fans like to buy what they see the players wearing, particularly if it’s Austin Gleeson on a blue shirt or Padraic Maher in a suit.
Well, now they will have a bit of choice with Lee Keegan, Conor McManus, Michael Quinlivan and Seamie Callanan among the players to be signed up.
It must be said that this is an individual solo run from the brand. There is no official partnership through either the GAA or the Gaelic Players Association, and no indication as to whether a fee is being paid or whether it’s an open account at the store.
It is of course well within the rights of players to sign their own deals though care does need to be taken not to fall into conflict with official brands.
It is notable that they are referred to throughout by Benetti as Icon rather than GAA Ambassadors and as such are skating the right side of the commercial line
There are no Dublin players among the group because Dublin GAA has an existing partnership with Jack and Jones, though Benetti are covering the Capital with former Leinster Championship winner and now TV pundit Senan Connell.
The media turned out in force to talk to David Moran of Kerry and Marty Clarke of Down and lately looking out for talent to bring to the AFL.
There was a mix of sport and fashion, just what the brand would have wanted, if maybe not those who are paying a premium to be associated with the sport in a formal capacity.