3, Ireland's largest high speed network, and the Football Association of Ireland today announced a sponsorship agreement, worth €7.5 million over four years, which sees 3 become the primary sponsor of the Irish national football team and all international squads.
Launching on August 11th this sponsorship sees 3, not only supporting the national team, but also working with football at grassroots level involving clubs and leagues up and down the country. The agreement coincides with 3's major push into the pre-paid market.
This much-coveted sponsorship affords 3 premium branding rights to include training and playing gear and kit, ticket branding and high visibility pitch-side branding at the magnificent Aviva Stadium.
Eager fans keen to get hold of the new shirt with the 3 logo will be able to do so from the Autumn onwards. 3 customers will also be given privileged access to tickets and other exciting initiatives, details of which will be announced at a later date.
With over 450,000 participants, football is the largest sport in the country and last year, 10 of the top 20 most watched sports events in Ireland were football events (9 of which were Senior Irish International matches). In addition, the 2.2 million peak audience which watched the France v Republic of Ireland match in November 2009 was the largest RTE audience for any sporting event since 1995.
Robert Finnegan, CEO, 3 commenting on the announcement said: "We are delighted to announce this major sponsorship, and see this as a strong strategic fit for our business to drive awareness of our brand amongst supporters of the number one sport in the country. Football fans will be at the heart of 3's sponsorship strategy and we plan to launch a range of exciting, new initiatives, including priority ticket bookings for 3 customers."
Robert continued: "This announcement officially confirms 3 as Irish football's biggest fan and the number one network for all supporters. We hope football fans will not only cheer on our boys in green but will support their new sponsor by switching to 3. Giovanni Trapattoni's mobile phone bills will never have been so low, with 3 he'll be paying local Irish rates even when he's in Italy!"
John Delaney, Chief Executive, FAI, added: "3 is a new and dynamic brand in Ireland and their determination and drive will bring fresh energy and focus to the partnership. The agreement comes at a very significant time for Irish football and I look forward to seeing both sides enjoying success on and off the pitch."
"This is significant sponsorship which is structured to reach out as never before to engage with grassroots football and all the strands of the game that we represent. It is a significant investment in the future of Irish football, particularly in light of the current economic climate."
"We have worked hard with Robert Finnegan and his team from 3 over recent months I thank them for their vision, determination and professionalism. By coming on board at such an exciting time for Irish football, we look forward to a very beneficial partnership."
Giovanni Trapattoni, Senior Irish International Manager, commented: "I look forward to 3's support for Irish football. We have talked about their plans, and I think this partnership will be good for the game at all levels, while helping the FAI to develop and grow the sport. 3 is a major international brand and we're delighted to have them on side."
In the last twenty four years this primary sponsorship position has only changed hands twice which is testament to the value and effectiveness of the sponsorship. The new partnership comes at an extremely exciting time for Irish football, coinciding with the move to a new world-class home in the Aviva Stadium and the continued progress of the Senior International Team under Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli, keeping Irish football at the forefront of the Irish sporting agenda and providing 3 consistent opportunities to connect with stakeholders, players and fans. 3 expects to develop a range of marketing activities to leverage the sponsorship, benefiting both the FAI at all levels and fans alike.
3's sponsorship of the Irish national football team and all international squads follows a number of other high profile sports sponsorships.