IN the 1,009 days since the FAI was told it needed to find a new sponsor for the Republic of Ireland men’s team, the association has lost €5.04 million in commercial income.
In those 144 weeks, 114 of which were spent without any shirt sponsorship revenue, the loss currently amounts to €44,000 per week.
Such financial impacts demonstrate the challenge facing the FAI as it strives to restore the brand and reputation of football after it was destroyed by the bad actors of the past.
There may be better news ahead with ongoing attempts to lure a major tech operator to the line, with tentative hopes an announcement could be ready by the time players meet in 10 days.
Much of this optimism comes from market sources and comments from FAI CEO Jonathan Hill during his last outing to the public press in July, when he said a resurgence in sponsorship would occur during of the coming season.
Without specifying timelines, Hill said the expected increase in FAI’s revenue from 42 million euros to 50 million euros will be due, in part, to “additional commercial revenue from sponsors”.
Three important factors explain why the FAI struggled to find a sponsor for what was once the biggest draw in Irish sport: brand, price and performance.
While the damage to the brand is clear and the corporate world is taking longer to appreciate its recovery, the FAI’s valuation of the referral package has been inconsistent with market expectations.
Fast forward to December 4, 2019 and the day the FAI were told by Three that they were severing commercial ties with Irish football at the end of the 2019/20 season.
In the 30 weeks before the mobile operator’s departure, the ISP came out on the market with a €2.5 million price in place, a higher price than Three had paid.
Perhaps not realizing the collateral business damage the 2019 near-insolvency had inflicted, the new board’s approval of such a price proved a grossly inflated valuation.
In the summer of 2020, with the Three’s deal officially over and with no new suitors in the boardroom, the FAI stuck to their new price and doubled what they still believed to be the correct value.
This €2.5 million pricing strategy remained for almost the next two years – 87 weeks to be precise – costing the association €4.182 million in untapped trading revenue.
During this period and despite lengthy discussions with Paddy Power, the FAI was told that it had overvalued its main sponsorship asset by almost a million euros and that it would have to revise its annual dues to 1, 57 million euros.
However, after those negotiations ended in acrimony, the FAI did not officially reduce the price, or if it did, it only informed the market in March this year – when it announced a new rate of 1.66 million euros.
Although this reduced fee has now been in place for 27 weeks, it has proven to be a tough sell with losses trending upwards by another €862,000.
Throughout this period of boardroom indecision over the true value of the Irish men’s national team – which is brought together in an overall FAI sponsorship – there has been another factor at play: the performance.
There is still great uncertainty about this team, and despite broad and voluble support, Stephen Kenny’s teams have had performances and results that terrify business.
Jonathan Hill said those types of suitors who are nervous about the recent past “probably aren’t right to get into this environment.” No risk-averse sponsor will want another Luxembourg, Azerbaijan or Armenia on their corporate social media feeds – but the performances of Portugal and Scotland will certainly negate some of that danger.
But the major challenge for the FAI remains to regain the trust of the association. As Jonathan Hill said, this is “part of the problem we are trying to solve”.
THAT the Government return to the horse and greyhound racing industry all the betting taxes it collects from Irish punters is a quirk of the Irish political and tax system.
Last year, this gambling tax amounted to €89m to the public treasury – or 2% of total gambling revenue – which was then transferred to the horse and dog racing accounts.
Now the Irish Sports Federation (FIS) has told the government it wants a slice of the betting industry’s lucrative pie – and is asking for a small percentage of the betting tax for all other sports.
In a comprehensive five-point pre-budget submission to the government and finance ministry, FIS also included a call for part of the sugar tax to be allocated to sport.
“The Federation believes that the reallocation of funding from the 2.25% betting tax and a 4.5% redistribution of the tax on sugary drinks would significantly allow the establishment of a regulatory body. coaching and education that would accelerate behavior change and health benefits in each area. ,” It said.
To prepare its betting tax submission, the Federation engaged the services of Barry Grant of Extern Problem Gambling to prepare its appeal for a share of the racing industry fund.
Grant has been involved in similar government lobbies in the past for a cut in revenue for gambling addiction services – which receive no funding from any state agency.
“I’ve worked on this with the Department of Finance in the past, trying to put money in a pot for services (with the Rutland center),” he told The Pitch.
“But I am constantly told that it never limits tax revenue, which is ironic given the current situation (with the horse and dog racing industry).
“I think it’s possible that we can get some of that revenue for sport and the argument is there to be made around addiction and prevention in sport.
“Sportspeople are a high-risk group, and in a time when horse and greyhound racing receives all that revenue, there is a case to be made for extending it to all sports.”
RTÉ has signed a content partnership agreement with Twitter which will increase the value of its advertising during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The activation will see an amplification of the national station’s digital coverage which will allow advertisers to attach their advertisements to premium images of the tournament’s most memorable moments.
The deal allows advertisers to broadcast branded pre-roll videos, increasing brand awareness at the world’s most-watched sporting event.
In communicating its use of Twitter’s “Amplify” service, RTÉ has published a number of statistics to demonstrate the power of the social platform, including:
• A third of Irish Twitter users cite watching and following sporting events as their main reason for using social media.
• 32% of Irish Twitter users have watched sports and music videos on the platform in the past week.
• 64% of World Cup fans on Twitter say they can find content there that is not available on any other platform.
RTÉ will show all 64 World Cup matches live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player with almost 200 hours of coverage in total, including four matches a day during the group stage.
The tournament will conclude with the World Cup final taking place on December 18.