The biggest attendance at a sporting event this weekend will be at Croke Park for the TG4 All Ireland Ladies Football Final. Last year it set a worldwide record of 46,286 for a Women’s sporting event and this year the hope is that it will go higher again.
The relationship between the Ladies Gaelic Football Association and TG4 goes back to 2001when Laois beat Mayo by a single point. It is one that crosses over from broadcast partner to sponsor and is one of those in Irish sport that is borne of real mutual benefit and engagement.
Both organisations have long been members of Sport for Business and it is always a pleasure to spend time in the company of TG4 Head of Sport Rónán O Coisdealbha which is exactly what we did this week.
TG4 is a long term sponsor of the All Ireland Ladies Championship. How do you feel it has grown in reach and importance over the past few years?
TG4 has been working in partnership with the LGFA and it’s sponsors since 2001 culminating in the highest ever television audience last September for the Finals as well as a record 46,286 attendance at Croke Park, a figure that was a world record for a standalone female sporting event last year.
Raising the awareness of Ladies Football throughout Ireland and abroad has been a key objective for us and providing live coverage of matches on free to air Television has helped it’s reach and importance.
The TG4 All Ireland Ladies Football Finals are now a must see event for a substantial amount of sports fans.
Live television coverage of Ladies Football and good marketing campaigns has helped the growth in young girls playing Ladies Football at Club level and in schools.
How many matches have you broadcast during this season and how are viewing figures compared to previous years?
By the time the beginning of December comes along and the final whistle blows at the Ladies All-Ireland Club Finals, TG4 will have broadcast 25 matches live from all competitions including the TG4 Championships, Lidl Leagues, Gourmet Food Parlour O’Connor Cup final and the Ladies All-Ireland Club Finals.
We have also broadcast highlights of the Provincial Finals and other Ladies Football matches on TG4’s weekly Gaelic Games highlights series on Monday evenings at 8pm.
Several matches were also streamed live on Facebook and YouTube. The viewing figures are great and overall they are up on last years figures.
The hope for this weekend is that we can beat the record TV viewing figures of 563,000 we had for last year’s Senior Final between Dublin and Mayo.
TG4’s live coverage of Ladies Football also attracts a significant audience globally on the TG4 Player on www.tg4.tv.
Your new show on Saturday night promises to be a celebration of Women in Sport, what might we expect?
With the support of Lidl and the LGFA, TG4 are broadcasting a brand new live television event to celebrate the 2018 TG4 All-Ireland Finals.
The show will be broadcast on TG4 at 9:30pm on Saturday 15th September – the eve of this year’s Ladies Football Final matches.
The 90-minute programme will be presented by Gráinne McElwain and Dáithí Ó Sé and will be broadcast live from the Mansion House.
A new video was commissioned and released on Wednesday to help publicise the programme and the weekend ahead:
Over the course of the programme, panellists and audience members will reflect on this year’s championship, on the games that will be taking place the following day, on the lives of Irish sports stars and on the story of women in Irish society in 2018.
It is the first time that TG4 will be broadcasting a live show prior to the All-Ireland Ladies Finals and the idea came from the Facebook Live Women in Sport event we held at the Croke Park Hotel the night before last years final. Sport for Business was a big help for us with that and it is great to see it grow this year, and hopefully for many years to come.
There will be a variety of well-known faces present on the night; amongst them former Brendan Martin Cup winners and sporting legends such as former Irish Rugby Captain Fiona Coghlan, Paralympic Swimmer Ellen Keane, Irish Hockey Player and World Cup Finalist Nicci Daly as well as Valerie Mulcahy, Cora Staunton and Bríd Stack.
As well as personalities from the world of sport, the programme will feature women from the worlds of business, broadcasting, politics and music. ‘Seó Beo Pheil na mBan le Lidl’ will also meet with a number of LGFA players’ families as well as inter-county players not competing in the finals. On top of plenty of chat, the show will have a number of musical acts including Áine Cahill, John Spillane and Lucia Evans.
As a sponsor how will you be activating your brand at Croke Park on Sunday?
We are in a unique position on Sunday as we are the sponsor and the broadcaster. We will have over seven and a half hours of Ladies Football coverage with the three Finals followed by the Cora Staunton Documentary.
Activating our brand will include such things as providing entertaining videos on the big screens, TG4 signage all around Croke Park, providing TG4 flags for everyone entering the stadium and interacting with fans and viewers by having a big presence on social media from pitchside.
We will also be adding extra television cameras to our coverage such as a ‘Net Cam’ and a camera on the Skyline which will provide spectators and viewers with some great views of what promises to be a very special day.
What do you feel are some of the key elements that have led to the rise in popularity of the sport?
Live television coverage, hard working sponsors and good marketing of course.
Certainly the amount of live games on television over the years has helped raise the profuile of the sport. The television coverage has helped in terms of exposure and means that viewers in Ireland and internationally can see what a great sport Ladies Football is.
The live television coverage has helped the LGFA bring other sponsors and partners on board such as Lidl and Gourmet Food Parlour.
A good social media presence and strong marketing campaigns such as the TG4 #ProperFan activity and Lidl’s #SeriousSupport campaign have been key elements in making the sport popular.
What promotional activity have you undertaken to help that this year?
The weekly promotional videos on our main channel and on online to highlight what games are being shown live on TG4 have been very important to let viewers and fans know what games they can watch.
Our ‘Proper Fan’ campaign has run on TV and Social all Summer and these advertising campaigns are very popular.
We have also worked very closely with Lidl on some campaigns to highlight our sponsorship of the game and to raise the profile of Ladies Football.
We put a lot of work into having a strong presence on social media this year and we have had some great engagement with fans online.
Highlighting the LGFA Ticket sales and getting as many people as possible to Croke Park is also one of our key objectives since the Semi Finals when we knew what teams had made it to Croke Park for the Finals.
— Ladies Football (@LadiesFootball) September 13, 2018
How important is the sport to your overall programming on TG4?
Ladies Football is very important to us and an integral part of our schedule and this is why we agreed and announced a 4-year sponsorship extension with Ladies Football back in July of this year. Supporting Women in Sport is a central part of TG4’s strategy and we are pleased to be involved with the LGFA since 2001.
The live coverage of 25 matches is also supplemented by documentaries such as Laochra Gael, the Cora Staunton documentary and the TG4 Ladies Football All Stars Awards.
Tell us a little about your programming over the weekend?
We have a very exciting line up of programming on TG4 during the weekend!
On Saturday night at 9:30pm TG4 will be broadcasting Seó Beo Pheil na mBan le Lidl live from the Mansion House.
Sunday will see over seven hours of programming from 11:40am to 7pm
Live coverage of the TG4 All Ireland Finals from Croke Park starts at 11:40am with the following matches broadcast live:
11:45 Limerick v Louth, TG4 All Ireland Junior Championship Final
13:45 Meath v Tyrone, TG4 All Ireland Intermediate Championship Final
16:00 Cork v Dublin, TG4 All Ireland Senior Championship Final
The live coverage will be presented by Gráinne McElwain with commentary and analysis by Sorcha Furlong, Máire Ní Bhraonáin, Robbie Ó Grifín, Brian Tyers, Marcus Ó Buachalla agus Cuán Ó Flatharta.
At 5:45pm on Sunday, the Cora Staunton Documentary will be broadcast on TG4.
Shot over the course of six months this access-all-area’s documentary CORA -The Greatest gives an exclusive insight into the very unique and fascinating world of Ireland’s footballing sensation, Cora Staunton.
All of the above programmes will also be available worldwide on the TG4 Player on www.tg4.ie.
And finally, would you dare to give us a prediction on how the match will go on Sunday?
Tough question! It’s really hard to call. I think the Senior Final is going to be a really tight match with little between the teams at the end. There was only one point between Cork and Dublin in both the 2016 and 2014 Finals.
I genuinely think the Senior Final will end in a draw and we will have a replay to look forward to!
Read more about our 2018 Sport for Business Sport for Social Good Report and half day conference on September 27th and reserve your place to hear about campaigns from the Manchester United Foundation, Unicef, Allianz and many more