There will be 82,300 in Croke Park on Sunday and over one million watching at home and abroad as the GAA All Ireland Football season reaches its climax.
AIB have been sponsors for the past three years and extended the partnership by a further five earlier this year. The relationship, built on their much longer association with the All Ireland Club Championship is clearly working well.
Sport for Business sat down with AIB Sponsorship Manager Paddy Somers this week to see how the season past has gone…
How was 2018 for AIB as a sponsor?
AIB’s involvement in GAA as sponsors of the AIB All Ireland Club Championship in hurling football and camogie, as well as the Senior Football Championship, is year round and once again both Championships have provided us with an incredible platform to engage and entertain GAA fans.
In May, we announced a 5-year extension to our 27-year relationship with the GAA, a sponsorship that both our customers and employees are very proud of.
The ad seemed to be a winner this year. How many downloads of the game?
We always try to push the boundaries with our GAA activity and this year we tied Club and county together in a game that really captured the imagination and has been central to our TV and digital campaigns.
We’re delighted with the impact and performance of both the ad and the game. We understand that without Club, there would be no County. The ad and the accompanying retro-style video game allowed us to bring that to life for fans allowing them to replicate the path made by our best GAA players from involvement with a local Club, to representing their County in an effort to reach the biggest stage of all, Croke Park on All Ireland Final Day – The Toughest Journey.
The game has really engaged fans surpassing all of our expectations with well over 150,000 games played to date in 64 countries.
You went back to international star appeal showcasing Gaelic Games this year with Harry Redknapp and Gianluca Vialli. Have the numbers matched up to Jeff & Kammy from last season?
AIB take huge pride in showcasing GAA and no more so than when get the opportunity to do so internationally, whilst entertaining GAA fans many of whom are existing or potential AIB customers.
The reaction of fans and their engagement levels to the video series has again been fantastic outperforming “Jeff & Kammy” on overall views and view through rate.
As well as that, both Harry Redknapp and Gianluca Vialli have been blown away by the scale and significance of GAA not to mention the positive impact it has on Irish life.
The seven episodes to date have been viewed almost four million times and the final episode will be broadcast later this afternoon. Sport for Business will have the final episode in Monday’s Daily Digest as well as much more from across the All Ireland Final Weekend.
Has football suffered by comparison this year and does that matter for your review of impact?
AIB have thankfully enjoyed another really successful summer in terms of fan engagement with our sponsorship activity. There have been a number of really brilliant games, some very interesting results and with two finalists both of whom have much to play for a very exciting final to come on Sunday.
Did the fact of more games at the Quarter Final stage work for you?
As a sponsor, our role is to look to enhance and to champion the GAA All Ireland Senior Football Championship whilst, hopefully providing some additional entertainment and enjoyment for fans.
The timing and setting of fixtures is a matter for the GAA and we will always work to their schedule in that regard. We have really enjoyed working with them over the course of the All Ireland Senior Football Championship and are really looking forward to the final on Sunday.
What activation plans do you have for Sunday?
Watch this space!
Has the growth of impact from GAA social activity been important?
Ireland has one of the highest rates of adoption and usage of on-line banking in Western Europe. AIB has invested significantly in our on-line offering and mobile banking which we believe is market leading and best in class. Our AIB GAA digital channels are central to our sponsorship activation allowing us to showcase our digital credentials whilst engaging and entertaining a GAA and wider sporting audience year round.
Can you give me a prediction on how you think the game will go?
The beauty of sport is you never quite know. Despite popular opinion suggesting that Dublin will cruise to a four in a row of All-Ireland titles, I am of the view that Tyrone have the game plan and the players to take the game right down to the wire. All-Ireland finals are rarely ever won in the first 10 minutes, but they can be lost. So I expect a cagey affair with both teams keeping things tight at the back creating a tense and exciting atmosphere in Croke Park. As for putting my neck on the line and at risk of scuppering the month of September, I have a sneaky feeling we could finish all square!