Specsavers signs up to sponsor Croke Park Hawk-Eye

The referee no longer needs glasses as public backs GAA points detection system

Tom the Harris hawk  at Croke Park to announce Specsavers sponsorship of the new Hawk-Eye ball-tracking technology for hurling and football at Croke Park. Photograph: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

Tom the Harris hawk at Croke Park to announce Specsavers sponsorship of the new Hawk-Eye ball-tracking technology for hurling and football at Croke Park. Photograph: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

 

Major sports venues have no shortage of advertising outlets, but how can brands ensure they gain maximum exposure during pivotal moments where fans on both sides are paying full attention? Sponsoring the Hawk-Eye ball-tracking technology system is one solution.

Having previously inked deals to sponsor Hawk-Eye technology in cricket matches, Specsavers has now been announced as the sponsor of the GAA’s new Hawk-Eye system at Croke Park, which is due to be deployed from June.

The system means the Specsavers brand will feature on the stadium’s big screen as it shows real-time imagery of a ball’s trajectory between the posts, removing any ambiguity over whether a point was scored or missed.


Game changer
According to research by Onside Sponsorship, just one in 10 Irish people disagree with the prospect of Hawk-Eye technology as an arbiter during GAA matches, with eight in 10 agreeing that use of the Sony-owned company’s technology to assist in adjudicating controversial scores is a good idea.

“Hawk-Eye will be a real game changer for the GAA, its fans and sponsors, and any potential resistance to the technology from the public is negligible,” says Onside Sponsorship managing director John Trainor.

“Sponsors and rights holders in other markets are striving to boost fan engagement and enjoyment of their favourite sports and teams before, during, post-match and at key moments within the game, and the Specsavers-sponsored GAA Hawk-Eye system is in touch with what the public are looking for.”

In keeping with its tongue-in-cheek “should have gone to Specsavers” approach to marketing – and playing on the age-old aggrieved supporters’ complaint that “the referee needs glasses” – Specsavers has also been involved in a number of deals to sponsor the shirts of match officials in various sports including rugby and football.