Three Ireland extends sponsorship of 3Arena in major €55m deal

Telecoms group says it will turn Live Nation music venue ‘smart’ under new 10-year deal

Brand amplification: 3Arena chief executive Mike Adamson with Three Ireland chief executive Robert Finnegan and chief commercial officer Elaine Carey. Photograph: Brian McEvoy

Brand amplification: 3Arena chief executive Mike Adamson with Three Ireland chief executive Robert Finnegan and chief commercial officer Elaine Carey. Photograph: Brian McEvoy

 

Three Ireland has renewed its naming rights sponsorship of the 3Arena venue in Dublin, investing €55 million over the next decade in what is one of the biggest such deals in Ireland.

Under the agreement with US entertainment giant Live Nation, the telecoms company’s customers will have continued access to presale opportunities for shows held at the 13,000-capacity venue, meaning they can purchase tickets before they go on general sale.

Three Ireland said the 10-year sponsorship marked “a significant investment” for the group and demonstrated its commitment to the Irish market.

The value of the sponsorship has sharply increased on the previous 10-year deal agreed in 2008, although this too is thought to have been worth more to Live Nation than the figure of €25 million that was reported at the time.

Three’s new deal with Live Nation and Aviva Ireland’s naming rights deal on the Lansdowne Road stadium are understood to be the two biggest sponsorships in Ireland.

The relatively low number of available deals has put a premium on the highest-profile properties and contributed to inflation at the top end. Aviva paid €40 million for a 10-year deal that runs until 2020 but the insurer is thought to have paid more for a five-year extension announced in January.

The industry expectation was that Three would renew the 3Arena deal, which was first signed between the venue owners and the Telefonica-owned O2 Ireland in 2008. It was renamed the 3Arena after Three acquired O2 Ireland.

The venue first opened as the Point Theatre, known as the Point or Point Depot, in 1988, and is now visited by about 900,000 people each year.

Lounge and app

Three has unveiled a new on-site “VIP” 3Plus lounge, which it said will offer “an enhanced entertainment experience” and help turn the arena into what it called Ireland’s first smart venue for music. It is also developing a new 3Arena app to facilitate the purchase of merchandise and food and drink at the venue as well as tickets and transport.

“We are delighted to be extending this sponsorship until 2028 and look forward to working with Live Nation to create Ireland’s first smart music venue, giving Three customers, and all music fans, a unique digital and connected music experience at the venue,” said Three Ireland chief executive Robert Finnegan.

Mike Adamson, chief executive of 3Arena and Live Nation Ireland, said the extension to the partnership with Three would “bring our ambitious plans for 3Arena to life” and deliver “huge benefit to Ireland’s music fans”.

As well as sponsoring music festivals Electric Picnic and Longitude, Three Ireland has a deal with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) to sponsor the Irish national football teams in a 10-year deal that was renewed in 2015 for €8.9 million.

This deal belongs to the next tier of Irish sponsorships, which is led by Vodafone’s agreement with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and also includes the three-way sponsorship of the GAA football all-Ireland championships by Eir, AIB and Supervalu.

Market confidence

Three’s extension to the venue naming rights comes amid rising confidence in the sponsorship market, which is currently outpacing the wider advertising market for growth.

After growth of 8 per cent last year, media agency Core expects that sponsorship revenues in the Republic will see a further 8 per cent increase in 2018, with the total market reaching €157 million.

Core has cited “a thirst by brands to demonstrate relevance, purpose and community credentials” as the reason why sponsorships are “in the spotlight” as a means to help brands resonate with consumers.