Dublin’s ability to attract significant sponsorship deals is hardly surprising given the current status of its inter-
county hurlers and more especially the footballers, writes Nickey Brennan.
The Dublin brand is hot property and it is no wonder that insurance conglomerate AIG is willing to deliver big money to become associated with the top Irish sports brand.
The recent sponsorship announcement drew envious gasps from around the country with one county going as far as suggesting that it may be time for all inter-county sponsorships to be pooled and allocated in equal measures. The prospects of that happening are nil.
I have no doubt that the suggestion was made in good faith but it never had the remotest possibility of becoming a reality. To be honest it would have been better if it had not been said in the first place.
There is unfairness in every sport whether that is in the amateur or professional arena. There will always be ‘the haves’ and have not’s. In truth, Dublin with its financial clout from sponsorship deals can commit significant funds towards the preparation of its inter-county sides.
Contrast that with many other counties that have limited funds to allocate to team preparation. The ability of any
inter-county side is not, of course, just down to the funding available to deliver training programmes.
Some counties are finding it hard to live within their means. Perhaps this is due to the short-term nature of managerial appointments in which immediate success is almost demanded by every county.
Then there is the comparison with counties that are successful and the belief that high investment in team preparation including the recruitment of specialists is the certain route to success.
Corporate Ireland continues to experience many challenges and the funds available have dwindled considerably. For many counties that means either getting less sponsorship or getting none at all. It is not a pleasant situation, but it is sadly becoming more common.
We will hear lots of financial woes in the weeks ahead from County Conventions. Some will tell us of counties that are in a serious financial state. Team expenditure is but one factor impacting but so too are ambitious development projects which some counties could ill-afford in the first place.
We also have counties who are trying hard to reverse their financial fortunes with a range of initiatives aimed at raising additional finance while also implementing better processes for managing their costs.
Successful counties will always have an advantage when it comes to attracting sponsorships. Not alone has Dublin two excellent senior inter-county sides but it also has a huge population with the likelihood of plenty of media coverage, particularly TV exposure.
So whoever thinks this is all very unfair is right. But this is not about fairness but rather commercial reality. A business man or woman with a grá for a particular county will offer help out of a sense of loyalty to his/her home patch.
Such sponsorships are few and far between with the majority down to hard-nosed commercial reality - ‘what return will I get from my financial investment’. Dublin is one of a relatively small number of counties with the ability to attract significant sponsorship.
I do not begrudge them one cent. The county has numerous challenges and I have no doubt all the money is put to good use. At the end of the day the surest way any county has of achieving the best possible sponsorship deal is
to be successful. In the hard-nose world of commercialism brand managers want winners.