It has been formally confirmed today that Liberty Insurance has ended its eight-year association as the sponsor of the All Ireland Camogie Championship.
The departure was intimated last month at the launch of the Littlewoods Ireland National Camogie League when there was no reference to the brand.
It is hard on the sport having to go to the market now at a time of remaining uncertainty about crowds attending matches and the ability to activate but there will be brands that will still see the long term gain of building a partnership in such a high profile area of Women’s sport.
They don’t come along too often with Liberty on board for eight years and TG4 showing the way with a 20-year partnership on the Ladies Football All Ireland.
Littlewoods and Lidl Ireland have shown what is possible with the right level of imagination and engagement with the two main participation and supporter sports for women in Ireland today.
The timing of the departure is unfortunate but Liberty has been a strong partner down the years since it first became involved as sponsor of the Men’s Hurling and the Camogie All Ireland Championships.
Led successively by Annette NÍ Dhathlaoí, Deirdre Ashe, John Coffey and Sean Brett, supported more recently by Laura Byrne, the brand was a positive force, delivering national media advertising campaigns and activations that played a significant part in raising the profile of the sport.
25,000 fans were in Croke Park for the All Ireland Finals Day in 2019.
They have hosted events bringing stars of the global sport including Joy Neville and Emma Hayes to Dublin and hosted a special event with Sport for Business at croke Park in 2015 where Clare Balding was the main guest speaker.
They invested in social media and supported other media including Sport for Business as a key partner in our own coverage of Women in Sport in general terms.
The All-Star Awards were boosted by their involvement as well, including support for All-Star Tours to Madrid and New York in 2017 and 2019.
In a statement issued today, the brand said that
“Liberty Insurance has been the title sponsor of the All Ireland Senior, Intermediate and Junior Camogie Championships since 2013. Subsequently, Liberty also became title sponsors of the All-Star Awards and All-Star Tour.
“In this time, it has given us great satisfaction to see the sport grow year on year, culminating in a record attendance of 24,730 supporters at the 2019 Liberty All Ireland Senior Championship final; nearly double its 2014 attendance.
“We hope our “Camogie Made Us” campaign, which supported the sport at a grassroots level and saw over 65,000 members of the public voting on our five finalists to select the top two club coaches, will leave a lasting impact on the sport.
“Due to wider strategic considerations, we have not renewed the title sponsorship of the All-Ireland Camogie Championships and All-Star Awards with the Camogie Association for 2021. We wish the Camogie Association every success into the future and we look forward to seeing the sport continue to prosper and grow.”
It is never easy to part company but that is the nature of sponsorship and marketing.
There is now an opportunity to look forward and to build a new relationship with a brand that will welcome the connection that comes with a close association to the highest levels of Gaelic games.
There is a good team in place led by CEO Sinéad McNulty.
The conversations will start now and will hopefully yield a new partner before too long. If you are a brand seeking to start them, do feel free to get in touch.
The Camogie Association and Liberty Insurance are among more than 250+ members of the Sport for Business network of sporting and business organisations working together across a number of key areas.
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