irl vs nz.jpg

Buoyed by an historic 2018 for Irish Rugby, Vodafone has topped the league of Ireland’s most appealing sports sponsors overall among Irish adults for Q4 2018, while Autumn Series sponsors Guinness achieved its strongest performance since Q1 2016, according to new research by sponsorship consultants ONSIDE.

In sports sponsorship, the other Q4 winners in terms of raising their public appeal ranking in the ONSIDE quarterly sponsorship monitor were Aviva, sponsors of the home of Irish Rugby and Aldi who also sponsor the Irish Rugby team and the grass-roots Aldi Play Rugby Programme. SSE Airtricity, sponsors of Irish soccer, also made significant strides in the latest wave of ONSIDE research, breaking into the sports sponsorship Top 10 for the first time, just as their term as sponsors of the Dublin City Marathon reaches the finish line.

Reflecting the strength of rugby sponsors in particular in Ireland in Q4 2018, six of the sporting sponsorship Top Ten were aligned with rugby, with others in the Top 10 including new European Champions Cup title partners Heineken and Bank of Ireland, the partner of all four provinces.

Vodafone also secured No.1 spot for the seventh quarter in a row as the most appealing sponsor of non-sporting properties in Ireland, supported in part by their links with major Irish comedy festivals such as the recent Vodafone Comedy Carnival in Galway. Next up was mobile competitor Three Ireland, sponsors of the Three Arena, who were also joined by other strong Q4 performances in the non-sports space by brands in the energy (Electric Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy) and supermarket (Lidl, Super-Valu, Tesco and Aldi) sectors.

Commenting on sponsorship market dynamics at play in the final quarter of 2018, John Trainor, Founder and CEO of ONSIDE notes that: “there was greater alignment in the Irish public’s shared admiration for a smaller number of sponsors in the past 3 months, with just 30 brands in sport and 52 in non-sport sponsorships being singled out most clearly for recognition. This is a positive dynamic in a sponsorship market that is increasingly battling with the threat of clutter undermining overall sponsorship effectiveness”.

Ahead of the January release of the 2019 edition of the ONSIDE Sponsorship Industry Outlook, Trainor hints at another positive outlook for the sponsorship industry off the back of a double digit rise in spend in the area in 2018.

“Sponsorship’s sweet spot to meet a growing need for human interaction through enabling next generation shared experiences, either live or digitally, in a disrupted world will be in even sharper focus for businesses next year. Throw a Rugby World Cup into that mix and we anticipate further acceleration in the demand for sponsorship by businesses in 2019.”