Dublin GAA board optimistic about maintaining €1m sponsorship deal

New deal to include women’s codes as Dubs seek replacement for Vodafone

The Dubs celebrate a goal against Cork last weekend: Dublin’s optimism is not confined to its activities on the pitch. photograph: cathal noonan/inpho

The Dubs celebrate a goal against Cork last weekend: Dublin’s optimism is not confined to its activities on the pitch. photograph: cathal noonan/inpho

 

As the sons of Dublin march ominously towards the Sam, off the pitch the county’s GAA board is also looking to boost its performance.

In an effort to increase the Dubs’ earning power, I hear the organisation will shortly advertise for the newly-created role of commercial and marketing manager. Let’s hope it doesn’t create a stampede of blue jersey-wearing Dubs fans hunting for their dream role.

One of the first items in the new hire’s in-tray will be finalising a deal to replace Vodafone as Dublin’s main sponsor. Vodafone pulled the plug earlier this year on its four-year backing of the county, worth a reputed €1 million a year. Before Vodafone and since the year dot, Arnotts was the sponsor. There is no white smoke yet, but Dublin GAA sources say a deal will be wrapped up before the end of the season. For the first time, it will include all codes – women’s Gaelic football and camogie will form part of the package. Despite the chill wind that has hit the domestic consumer economy since the Dubs signed the original deal with Vodafone, they are looking to maintain a million-a-year deal, for a minimum of three years. Optimism, it seems, is not confined to Dublin’s activities on the pitch. Negotiations are “ongoing”.

Outside of the national football and rugby teams, the Dubs gig is one of the most high-profile sports sponsorships in the country. So high profile, in fact, that it made the previous incumbent a target for the PR activities of its unions.

When the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) was in dispute with Vodafone over outsourcing, union members held demonstrations at Croke Park during games and unfurled banners asking the mobile operator why it supported the Dubs, but not its workers. Vodafone responded to the CWU with a threat of legal action. There’s always a down side to success.