Ready for Sunday’s All Ireland – Teneo and Tipperary

Ahead of Sunday’s All Ireland Hurling Final Sport for Business has been out and about with some of the key people on the commercial side of the game and the Hurling Championship. This morning we have a chat with Mick O’Keeffe of Teneo on their involvement as sponsors of Tipperary.

SfB: It’s Teneo’s first year on the shirt and you are straight back to the All-Ireland Final, how special has this year been for you as a sponsor?

MO’K: This has been a very special year to date. The senior hurlers are in the final on Sunday and the U20s in the Bord Gáis Energy final the following weekend. What more could you ask for?

It has been busy for us in many ways as we see our role as strategic partners and advisers off the pitch to help support Tipperary GAA.

We are on board to support both football and hurling. Our role has both short term and longer-term objectives. We wanted to help Tipperary GAA provide the best support possible to their elite teams in the short term, to give them every chance of success.

Secondly, we are looking at strategic longer-term projects. We work behind the scenes mostly, and as a consultancy, we advise our clients on how to maximise performance. We see Tipperary in the same vein.

Aside from the personal Declan Kelly connection as a long term behind the scenes supporter of Tipp GAA, what was the business motivation behind stepping that up this year?

Declan has been a supporter of Tipperary GAA for a long time. He has driven this partnership and we came on board to ensure Tipp had every support possible and that anyone who could help the teams would do so.

Most of our work is behind the scenes. Our only motivation was to bring our skills to bear in the background to assist Tipperary.

Has it been a challenge putting your own brand front and centre stage when you are more used to helping others secure the limelight?

Teneo in Ireland has an award-winning sports and sponsorship team that advises high profile sponsors and rights holders so we know what works and what doesn’t.

We also have a proven track record in helping organisations think strategically and plan for the longer term.

As a consultancy, we do not chase the limelight. Our purpose in life is to do world-class work for our clients. We help our clients achieve their business objectives. In sponsorship, this means we help create meaningful long term partnerships between brands and rights holders, often having a transformational impact for both parties.

The logo on the jersey was not why we got involved and we don’t see ourselves leveraging the partnership to increase mass awareness for example.

We don’t “activate” in a classical way or in a way we would advise a consumer-facing organisation for example which may be looking to reward customers, shift brand sentiment or raise awareness of a new product or service.

Ultimately we came into this Tipperary sponsorship with a view as to “how can we help you achieve your ambitions?”.

Everything we do starts and stops with us supporting the Tipperary County Board and their teams to help them fulfil their potential. It really is a true partnership.

The reward for us is playing our small part in helping the teams maximise their talents in the short term while looking longer term at things like facilities and commercial structures. The same way we work with clients, our role is behind the scenes.

How have you brought that to bear throughout the year?

We work closely with Tipperary and one major highlight was the “Celebration of Tipperary Hurling” night we organised in Dublin which honoured all the living All-Ireland winning captains and doubled up as a fundraiser for the hurling and football teams and raised money for charity.

Declan Kelly chairs the newly formed Tipperary GAA Commercial Board and there are big longer-term ambitions. We have activated by doing what we do best, which is adding value behind the scenes and through long term strategic planning and short-term focus.


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