Latest Dublin sponsorship deal highlights widening financial gap in the GAA 3 months ago

Latest Dublin sponsorship deal highlights widening financial gap in the GAA

Dublin GAA extended their sponsorship deal with AIG by another five years on Tuesday to bring their current deal with the American insurance firm through to 2023.

The new deal is believed to be in the region of €4 million over five years which mirrors similar figures to Dublin's initial deal with the company in 2013.

The arrangement reaffirms Dublin's strength as a brand as the county continues to flourish with their senior footballers bidding for a fourth consecutive All-Ireland title this summer.

AIG is the main partner of Dublin GAA who already boast 12 additional sponsors including:

O'Neills – official kit partner

Lifestyle Sports – official clothing partner

Ballygowan – official hydration partner

Energise Sport – part of the official hydration partnership

Aer Lingus – official airline partner

Linwoods – official health food provider

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Skins – official performance baselayer product

The Gibson Hotel – official sleeping partner

ROS Nutrition – official supplement supplier

Jack & Jones - official menswear provider

Gourmet Food Parlour – restaurant provider

Subaru – official car partner

By comparison, Leitrim, who advanced past New York in their Connacht Championship opener last weekend, have a deal with Bush Hotels that was believed to be worth around €20,000.

Leitrim have seven additional sponsors but they don't exactly stack up alongside the likes of Aer Lingus, Ballygowan, Subaru and Lifestyle Sports.

The extension with AIG will also see the firm sponsor a new High Performance Centre at Parnell Park.

“Today’s announcement is a massive vote of confidence from AIG in Dublin GAA from grass roots level right up to our senior teams,” said Dublin county board Chairman Seán Shanley.

“Both Dublin GAA and AIG have gone from strength to strength over the course of the last four-and-a-half years and this long-term commitment will allow us plan for the development of our games in the county on a sound financial footing.

“Providing the right structures for young players to participate in hurling and football in a county with the population of Dublin is a huge operation which requires significant investment. With the backing of AIG, we can look forward to building on the work already being done and continue to invest in allowing as many girls and boys as possible to take part with the guidance of the best coaching.

“It is a massive day for the clubs all-across Dublin. With the finance provided by this deal, Dublin County Board can invest in more projects, more coaching and better support structures. The AIG Performance Centre at Parnell Park will be just one of a number of initiatives which we have in the pipeline.”

In addition to Dublin's sponsorship advantage, the Jacks received €15, 427, 560 more than any other county in coaching and games development grants over the last decade.

Figures compiled by Sunday World journalist Sean McGoldrick show that from 2007 to 2017, Dublin received €16, 612, 847 in coaching and games development grants while the next highest garnering county, Cork, received just €1, 185, 287 over the same period.

Dublin GAA chief John Costello responded to claims that Dublin enjoy benefits that other counties don't by claiming that population and financial advantages are 'repetitive and often, quite frankly, misinformed'.

“Some of the commentary around Dublin’s perceived ‘advantages’ – such as population and finance – is both repetitive and often, quite frankly, misinformed," wrote Costello in his annual report last year.

“I’d like to address a number of recurring ‘beliefs’ about our current set-up at senior inter-county level.

  • Myth 1: Our senior teams have meals delivered to their homes on a daily basis or ever in fact. UNTRUE.
  • Myth 2: Our senior teams are given five-star, ‘all-expenses paid’ treatment. UNTRUE.

“Here’s a short story to illustrate such myths concerning our senior footballers! The hard yards every year are done in Innisfails GAA club in late winter/spring before they move to St Clare’s, DCU for Championship preparation.

“Last year, two training sessions were cut short owing to floodlight failure at Innisfails. On investigation, it turned out this was caused by a player, who had to return to the
dressing rooms following injury on the pitch, who turned on a heater which cut short the
circuit! Nothing five-star about that!

“Broadening out the debate, as I have often said the battle for young hearts and minds is
ongoing – and tougher than ever. My belief is that it is tougher in Dublin than in any other county in Ireland.

“In rural areas, the local GAA club is often the very heart beat of the parish. Playing underage for the local club is often a rite of passage for young people. This is less so in the larger suburban areas of Dublin.

“But through the wonderful work of our clubs and schools, we can reach as many young
Dublin children as possible and introduce them to what will hopefully be a lifelong love of our national games.

“But we are not in a situation where we are turning thousands of children away from the gates of our clubs every day. Other sports in the capital are well established, well organised and often directly in competition with our games.

“Add in the many other non-sporting distractions of a large city and you have a real challenge to attract young players. It may surprise some but the penetration of the GAA in certain areas of Dublin remains relatively low. This too remains an ever present challenge.

“I make no apology to anyone for the strategic investment we continue to make in this
regard. In my opinion, the benefits of the money spent here comes back in multiples – not just to Dublin GAA but to the organisation nationally and to wider society too.

“It helps to positively shape young lives and inculcates a culture of community, worth and belonging in them.”