The 2022 SSE Airtricity League Premier Division is back after its mid-season break and the first round of matches last weekend produced a win for Dundalk over Shamrock rovers that moves them to within five points of the leaders with a game in hand.

With full attendance allowed for the first time since 2019, it has been an important year for the League to lay down a marker on how it can reach out to a committed and growing fan base.

Each season we produce a look at the commercial partnerships that the clubs across each of the SSE Airtricity Premier League, First Division and Women’s National League have in place and at how their fan audiences have grown over the past year through the lens of Twitter.

Here is the first half of our round-up of how the clubs in the top flight have been getting on off the pitch.

 

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BOHEMIAN FC

Principal Commercial Partner: Des Kelly Interiors have been partners of the club for 25 years. In November 2019 they announced a new four-year partnership and the return to the front of the shirt.

“The Kelly family have been colossal supporters of the club down the years,” we were told at the time by Club COO Daniel Lambert.

“It is nearly 20 years since Des Kelly part-funded our project to see the old Shed End move from terracing to become the Des Kelly Carpets Stand. Des Kelly were also our main shirt sponsor for ten seasons from 2002 until 2011.”

Their support has also allowed Bohemian FC to engage the fan base and the local community in sport for social good initiatives like last year’s partnership with Fontaines DC to support Focus Ireland, and the celebratory Away Shirt for 2022 featuring Bob Marley’s likeness and generating visibility for the club on a global stage.

Other Commercial Partnerships: Dublin Bus, MG Motors, Community Credit Union, Porterhouse Brewing, DHL, Westbrook Motors, Premier property Group and Bodytonic.

Kit Supplier: O’Neills

Initiatives: The club has been to the fore in terms of social initiatives and is currently appointing a Football Social Responsibility Manager. Bohemian FC Chief Operating Officer Daniel Lambert joined us for the 2022 Sport for Social Good event to talk about climate change, migration, a bit of football, and an important message about how doing the right thing in areas off the pitch brought the club to a point of a sold-out Dalymount Park for the whole season.

Twitter: @BFCDublin 40.1K Followers (up from 30.5K in 2021)

 

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DERRY CITY

Principal Commercial Partner: Diamond Corrugated signed a new three-year deal in November 2019 and Paul Diamond has been an integral part of the club for over 35 years, serving as Chair the last time they won the Premier Division title in the mid ’90s.

Other Commercial Partnerships: GMK, City Cabs, Desmond Motors, AE Global

Kit Supplier: O’Neills

 

Initiatives: The Ryan McBride Foundation has gone from strength to strength and has become a real focus for club initiatives within the local community

Twitter: @DerryCityFC 32.2K Followers (Up from 27.7K in 2021)

 

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DROGHEDA UNITED

Principal Commercial Partner: Drogheda United FC and Drogheda Credit Union agreed a five-year partnership and sponsorship deal in February that will see the credit union become the lead sponsor of the club’s new Community Foundation as well as their brand appearing on the front of the first team jerseys, along with the League of Ireland academy teams.

Other Commercial Partnerships: Anglo Printers, Blackstone Motors, The D Hotel, Specsavers, Integral Leisure Centre, Kavanagh Corporate Services, Flogas D&A Gourmet, Scotch Hall, Massey.

Kit Supplier: Umbro

 

Initiatives: In early 2020, Drogheda United embarked on a venture to sign up multiple Patrons who would then enter a draw to choose a charity after which to name United Park.  Local Councillor Joanna Byrne emerged successful from a draw and she selected “Head in the Game Park” to be the new name for United Park for 2021, a partnership that has rolled over to this year. Head in the Game is a movement set up by Irish football fans to raise awareness of the importance of mental health across the football community.

In January of this year, the club became the first Irish club to back The Big Step campaign to end gambling sponsorship in football.

Twitter: @DroghedaUnited 30.9K Followers (up from 25.7K last year)

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DUNDALK FC

Principal Commercial Partner: In December 2020 online gaming brand Bet Regal was announced as the club’s main commercial partner in a two-year deal said to be “the largest commercial deal in Dundalk Football Club’s history.”  The name remains on the Senior team shirt but does not appear on the under-age shirts or on children’s replica kits.

Other Commercial Partnerships: Blackstone Motors, Statsports, Sportsfile, UHY FDW Accountancy, PayPal, Fyffes

Kit Supplier: Umbro

 

Initiatives: The club did a charity takeover of the jersey in April which raised over €8,000 for Motor neurone disease charity Watch Your Back MND.  It signed a new Community Partnership with PayPal in March of this year.

Twitter: @DundalkFC 42.6K Followers (up from 39.9K in 2021)

 

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FINN HARPS

Principal Commercial Partner: Guild eSports came on board as the club’s main partner in 2021.

The UK-based eSports business, which is co-owned by David Beckham, enter professional players in major gaming competitions and received worldwide attention when they created a pioneering Esports academy and launched a distinctive lifestyle brand.

The club have been working with Guild Esports to increase its audience base in Ireland, and to encourage Irish gaming talent to join Guild’s world-class academy, helping them become esports stars of tomorrow.

Other Commercial Partnerships: Joey O’Leary Financial services, Kernans

Kit Supplier: Joma

Initiatives:  The club launched a personalised primary school children’s season ticket for just €5 from children throughout the North West. The club motto is that football is more than a TV show and it has a number of community initiatives underway since the lifting of Covid restrictions

Twitter: @FinnHarpsFC 21.1K Followers (up from 16.9K followers last year)

 

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ST PATRICKS ATHLETIC

Principal Commercial Partner: Manguard Plus stepped up from a partner to become the club’s principal sponsor at the start of this season, replacing McCarthy Insurance Group who had been on the shirt front for four seasons.

Other Commercial Partnerships: Bill Griffin Motors, Clune Construction

Kit Supplier: Umbro

 

Initiatives: The Patron Saints initiative continues to involve fans in a number of different projects.  The club appointed a full time Community Officer in February of this year to bring that programme to a next level of engagement

Twitter: @StPatsFC 27.5K Followers (up from 22.8K in 2021)

 

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SHAMROCK ROVERS

Principal Commercial Partner: Shamrock Rovers signed a deal with global online betting and gaming brand 888 at the start of last season and this will be the second year of an initial two-year deal.

Other Commercial Partnerships: Hyundai, Beacon Hospital, Carling, The Square, South Dublin County Council, Roadstone, Maldron Hotels, Manscaped, Defiant Water and Gourmet Food Parlour

Kit Supplier: Umbro

Initiatives: The club has been working with the Dublin Simon Community and GOAL on a number of different social good initiatives.  It also launched a major new STEM initiative with local schools in partnership with Unite the Union.

Twitter: @ShamrockRovers 40.5K Followers (up from 35.5K in 2021)

 

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SHELBOURNE FC

Principal Commercial Partner: Hamptons Floor and Home Store signed an enhanced sponsorship agreement at the start of this, their second season on the club shirt, adding match day activations and stadium banners to their presence at Tolka Park

Other Commercial Partnerships: Blaklader, Brooklyn Flooring, Avonmore Protein Milk, Cloudforests, Movehome, Manscaped, EISports, Halpin Sports Sponsorship, Sumoblue, and Mitchum.

Kit Supplier: Umbro

 

Initiatives: Last season’s promotion injected energy into the club and it has been very visible through Damian Duff’s appointment as manager.  They have been to the fore in support of the Women’s team, playing all home games at Tolka Park which looks once again as if it will be their long term home, as opposed to in a ground share with Bohemian FC at Dalympount as had originally looked like the case.

Twitter: @ShelsFC 21.3K Followers

 

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SLIGO ROVERS

Principal Commercial Partner: Avant Money signed an extension to its original deal and will now be the sponsor of the Men’s and Women’s teams through to the end of the 2023 season.

Other Commercial Partnerships: The Sligo Champion, Oh Hello Clothing, Atlantic Technological University, Clayton Hotels

Kit Supplier: Joma

 

Initiatives: In April the club became the second in the league to back the Big Step campaign advocating for the removal of gambling sponsorship from football. Last season it won the SSE Airtricity Common Goal programme.  The club’s sustainability plans include providing more bicycle facilities in The Showgrounds to encourage supporters to travel by bike to matches as well as using the facility on non-matchdays to cycle to work.

Twitter: @SligoRovers 28.6K Followers (up from 25.3K in 2021)

 

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UCD AFC

Principal Commercial Partner: This season the club has agreed to a Charity partnership with Jigsaw which appears alongside branding for the UCD Students Union on the front of the club shirts.  %0 per cent of all other sponsorship is being donated to the charity along with a proportion of ticket sales.

Other Commercial Partnerships: MCD Promotions and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

Kit Supplier: O’Neills

 

Initiatives: The Jigsaw initiative and closer collaboration with the UCD Students Union is playing to the strengths of one of the few University Teams playing in professional leagues anywhere in the world.

Twitter: @UCDAFC 14K Followers

 

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Join us on Friday morning when we will have the up-to-date details for Athlone Town, Bray, Cobh Ramblers, Cork City and Galway United in the SSE Airtricity First Division.

 

 

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