O’Brien spreads some of his money to . . . well, everyone

It is well known that Digicel has a penchant for all sorts of sponsorships

It’s more or less official: Denis O’Brien’s Digicel sponsors anything that moves in the Caribbean.

My colleague Ciarán Hancock revealed in this newspaper earlier this week the details of the pitch Digicel is making to bond investors as it tries to raise another $1 billion through an eight-year senior loan note.

It is well known that Digicel has a penchant for all sorts of sponsorships. But the document lays bare the full extent to which the company has ingratiated itself into everyday sporting and cultural life in its core market.

The financial statements outline that Digicel has agreed to pay almost $9 million, plus unspecified win bonuses, to continue its sponsorship of the West Indies cricket team until 2016. It also has an option to extend this.


Perhaps learning from the kudos O'Brien receives from paying half the Ireland manager's wages, Digicel has also invested heavily in soccer. It sponsors the Caribbean Premier League, as well as 17 other national football associations, federations and leagues.

In the South Pacific, it is fighting to retain its sponsorship of the Fiji rugby team, and also funds the sport in Samoa and Papau New Guinea.

Digicel sponsors the Special Olympics teams in “most of its Caribbean markets”, which number more than 20.

It also sponsors Jamaican track god Usain Bolt and his compatriot Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce. It contributes to Bermudan squash players, swimmers – the list is endless.

It even sponsors the pan-Caribbean Rising Stars TV talent show, although that's more of a bloodsport.

Separately, Riverdance dance director Niamh O'Connor tweetd a picture last week of a beaming O'Brien backstage with the performers following their show at Dublin Castle as part of the UN Broadband Commission meeting.

Is O’Brien our new lord of the dance?