The Federation talks to Declan O’Rourke, AIG General Manager about the company’s 5 year commitment to Dublin GAA…
What do you see as the benefits for a brand such as AIG in supporting Irish sporting bodies?
The Dublin GAA sponsorship is not the first time that AIG has invested in sports
sponsorship in Ireland. AIG has supported amateur golf in Ireland for almost 15 years and AIG is the official sponsor of the Golf Union of Ireland. In addition, we recently entered an insurance partnership with Tennis Ireland.
Sponsoring Dublin GAA is a further step towards raising our profile and boosting our business. Ultimately, we want people to
know our name and we want to improve the awareness around AIG and our core insurance products. The name on the jersey is of course great but it is about how we activate our partnership and how we bring it to life across our consumer and commercial divisions.
The sponsorship will also improve our brand. We want to be known as an insurance company that supports community based, participation sport, with all the health, personal and social benefits that brings to children and communities across the country.
This sponsorship is a clear statement that AIG is committed to both the Irish insurance market and the Irish community for the long term. It solidifies AIG’s track record of supporting amateur sport in Ireland.
Dublin GAA is one of the country’s most successful sporting brands, are there any particular aspect of their success that were attractive to AIG in developing this new partnership?
Dublin GAA has had a phenomenal amount of success over the last few years. Ladies football All-Ireland champions, Leinster and league hurling champions and of course All-Ireland football champions – this is just at senior level. When you consider underage titles at provincial and national level, it really has been a time of massive on field success. The success can also be seen at Feile level at both hurling and football.
Success in sport is built on teamwork, planning, tenacity, integrity, performance and hard work. We feel these qualities of Dublin GAA are mirrored at AIG.
AIG has chosen to sponsor Ladies Gaelic Football and Camogie as well as Men’s Football and Hurling, was there a particular reason behind this decision?
We are the first sponsor to unite the four codes of Gaelic football, hurling, ladies football and camogie under the one jersey. The opportunity to unite all four codes was one we could not turn down. To hear Sinéad Goldrick and Louise O’Hara, both prominent players in football and camogie respectively, talk so passionately at the launch about what a sponsor like AIG does for their sport has vindicated our decision.
Dublin GAA is a huge organisation, boys and girls, ladies and men, supporting 92 clubs, 100,000 associated members, 320 active primary schools and organises 4,000 adult club games every year. As a passionate GAA supporter myself, I understand how important sponsorship revenue is to ensure that these structures are supported and to ensure GAA is promoted at all levels from GAA nurseries to the stars who appear in Croke Park.
AIG has committed to a 5 year sponsorship, do you believe it takes time for this type of partnership to be successful?
Yes – the traditional sponsorship model has changed in the last few years. It is no longer enough to put a name on a jersey for
a short period. We want to build an affinity with Dublin GAA players, clubs, management, supporters and county board. This takes time. With a five year deal we hope to have shown Dublin GAA and its fans, that same level of commitment so that they can plan for the next five years in the knowledge that they have a committed partner on board. From our side, it also means that we can build steadily. I think Dublin fans are going to be very excited by what AIG have planned over the next few years.
Has AIG’s approach to commercial partnerships changed in recent years?
AIG has traditionally sponsored major global brands like Manchester United and the All Blacks. While AIG in Ireland has sponsored golf and tennis, this is the first time we have sponsored GAA and the first time we have AIG branding on a major GAA team. This takes our sponsorship activity and awareness in Ireland to a new level.
What advice would you give to any sports organisation looking to secure sponsorship in the current environment?
I would suggest the sporting organisation put together a comprehensive document outlining all the assets, including exclusivity, naming rights, signage, TV viewership, newspaper, other media, customer database, team apparel, web exposure, websites, social media, player access, CSR, hospitality, etc. Dublin GAA put together an excellent document that made the process much easier.
I would also advise the organisation to look for a company with experience in sponsorship that wants to build its brand and customer base.
Finally, while a lot of media focus on the money aspects of sponsorship, this was not our sole focus. We were looking for a good fit for AIG and a good working relationship. I believe the sponsorship will not just support the Dublin GAA players and underage system, but will also bring enjoyment and pride to our business partners, brokers, clients and staff.
Many thanks for taking the time to talk to us, finally what was your personal highlight of the sporting year 2013 and anything you are particularly looking forward to in 2014?
As a Tipperary man, we had a disappointing year. However, the All Ireland Hurling Final replay was very special, especially as two of my kids were involved in the half time game.
It was fantastic to see Dublin hurlers win Leinster in style after so many years. The All Ireland Semi Final Football was a fantastic spectacle, full of drama and the final was a great occasion.
Finally, the Ireland v All Black game was one of the best games of rugby I have seen. It was great to see the fight back in Irish rugby.
For 2014, I am optimistically looking forward to a Dublin v Tipperary hurling final. I look forward to seeing the Dublin mens footballers having another great year and expect the ladies to also perform well at both codes. I think the Dublin Ladies have a great chance of winning the All Ireland football in 2014. Bring on tomorrow.