Ladies Football and the Sponsor Gap

Ladies Football is on a roll.  The 46,535 who went to Croke Park to see the Final of the TG4 All Ireland Final were backed up by 563,000 who watched on that channel.

Lidl’s partnership with the sport has raised awareness, engagement and confidence in the sport and last weekend’s Finals of the Ladies Football Club Championships drew media coverage that would have been barely imaginable only a few short years ago.

The front page of the Irish Times on Monday, as well as the full back page of the Irish Independent and throughout every print, online and social media, were dominated by pictures of Cora Staunton, of Corduff and Dunboyne

There are now approaching 200,000 girls and women playing the sport across the country, all of them through their clubs first, the best going on to be inspiring role models like we saw through the Blues Sisters Documentary last week.

Sponsorship has come through in the shape of TG4 and Lidl but the Club Championships have yet to attract the interest of a major sponsor.  The past weeks of coverage and increasing desire to be associated with the rapid growth of Women’s sport mean that is unlikely to be the case in 2018.

AIB sponsors the Men’s Hurling and Football Club Championship and has gained massive traction and brand scores through the association.

All three though are in a similar timeframe and allow for cross-promotion over the colder, wetter months of Winter before drawing to a pinnacle in March.

The Ladies Football Club Championships are currently played off towards a November / December climax and with much else in Gaelic Games beginning its hibernation that allowed space for the media to get behind this year’s Championships.

The playbook that AIB has created around the other three codes could be replicated by them or, if activation resource is an issue, by others who would see the values and potential of the club game as a match for their own to step up and claim a piece of what remains one of the fastest growing sectors of the sports sponsorship market.

In 2018 Sport for Business will host 20 events linking sport and business in ways that make a difference to how we all do such a great job, as well as producing our Daily News Digest covering the commercial world of Irish sport.

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