Women scor­ing own goal ‘by fail­ing to back their own sports’

Irish Independent - Business Week - - APPOINTMENTS -

IR­ISH women only have them­selves to blame for lim­it­ing their prospects in sport be­cause they don’t get be­hind their own sports enough – they sup­port men’s sport, RTÉ group head of sport De­clan McBen­nett has said. Ad­dress­ing a Mar­ket­ing In­sti­tuteOn­side spon­sor­ship con­fer­ence in the Aviva Sta­dium on the fu­ture of sports broad­cast­ing, McBen­nett in­sisted it wasn’t him be­ing con­tro­ver­sial – it’s a fact.

SoftCo de­serves spe­cial ku­dos for spon­sor­ing Ire­land’s World

Cup women’s hockey team and it cost the com­pany no more than €40,000. Al­lud­ing to the en­dur­ing love-hate re­la­tion­ship be­tween TV ed­i­to­rial and com­mer­cial de­part­ments, McBen­nett ad­mit­ted he has knowl­edge of but not nec­es­sar­ily af­fec­tion for the role spon­sor­ship, ad breaks and com­pe­ti­tions play in bring­ing ma­jor sports to au­di­ences.

With rights ne­go­ti­a­tions prov­ing ever more costly and com­pet­i­tive, broad­cast­ers must ask, is sport about rev­enue or ex­po­sure? Where’s the au­di­ence? Where’s the next gen­er­a­tion? The Uefa Cham­pi­ons League is worth €32bn and the fi­nal is the world’s third-big­gest TV sports event af­ter the Olympics and the Fifa World Cup.

Ma­jor brands are pitched against top stars – the Mes­sis, Ron­al­dos and Mbappes. Only seven out of the 54 na­tional broad­cast­ers now show Cham­pi­ons League games free to air. Are view­ers be­ing short-changed? Where will to­mor­row’s young­sters get their in­spi­ra­tion? Where’s the ex­po­sure to cre­ate fu­ture sport­ing he­roes?

Golf and box­ing look to box­of­fice sub­scrip­tions for ma­jor events. But when cricket went be­hind the pay­wall, au­di­ences crashed. Foot­ball num­bers in the UK are flag­ging. McBen­nett


De­clan McBen­nett, head of group sport at RTÉ, said the lack of back­ing for women’s sport was hold­ing it back pointed to the GAA in pro­mot­ing com­mu­nity and affin­ity. He said AIG, Supermac’s and Chill have earned strong div­i­dends from back­ing the Dublin, Gal­way and Cork county teams.

Olympic rower Gary O’Dono­van said the dream for a sports­man like him was “not to be on the telly”, it’s to win medals. “Peo­ple think more of it than we do – it’s no big deal to us,” O’Dono­van re­marked. While he was con­scious of sup­port­ing his spon­sors, FBD, Visa and Bord Bia, win­ning medals – es­pe­cially Olympic hon­ours – is the best way to do it.

In an on­line study of this sum­mer’s sports spon­sor­ships, based on on­line in­ter­views with Mar­ket­ing In­sti­tute mem­bers, AIB’s GAA sup­port topped the list for the third year in a row. Lidl’s ladies Gaelic foot­ball came sec­ond, with SoftCo’s sup­port for Ire­land’s World Cup women’s hockey team rank­ing third.

⬤ Coca-Cola sent the fright­en­ers up tea and cof­fee brand own­ers some years ago with scant­ily-clad hunks in ads es­pous­ing the virtues of a Diet Coke break. The Cola run was chal­lenged by a new trend in cof­fee-mak­ing ma­chines at work and in homes. Now Nes­tle’s cof­fee cap­sule brand Ne­spresso – made fa­mous by Hol­ly­wood heart­throb Ge­orge Clooney – has a re­port out on the value of cof­fee breaks at work.

The ComRes study of 2,772 adults in the UK and Ire­land claims 75pc of Ir­ish em­ploy­ees feel more pro­duc­tive af­ter a cof­fee break. 80pc of staff be­lieve that qual­ity cof­fee in the of­fice shows em­ploy­ers care about staff wel­fare. Ne­spresso also re­ports that cof­fee breaks help build stronger work re­la­tion­ships, re­duce stress lev­els and perk them up. Makes them feel a lit­tle more grounded, no doubt.

⬤ Boys + Girls co-founder and part­ner Chris Up­ton is leav­ing the agency to do an MBA at the Michael Smur­fit Grad­u­ate Busi­ness School. Be­fore help­ing to set up Boys + Girls, Up­ton was a di­rec­tor of McCon­nells for eight years. He is the in­com­ing chair­man of the Mar­ket­ing So­ci­ety and has lec­tured on mar­ket­ing at DIT.

⬤ Ford’s de­ci­sion to ap­point Om­ni­com’s BBDO net­work as its lead cre­ative agency world­wide in place of WPP will have no im­me­di­ate im­pact on the car brand’s Ir­ish agency. Ogilvy man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jane Gre­gory as­sured Adlib that de­spite the Ford changes overseas, it’s busi­ness as usual in Ire­land.

⬤ And fi­nally ... Im­pres­sion­ist and satirist Oliver Cal­lan of ‘Cal­lan’s Kicks’ fame re­turns as the MC for the Ir­ish Mag­a­zine Awards, which will be pre­sented at the Lans­downe Rugby Club premises be­side the Aviva Sta­dium on Thurs­day, Novem­ber 28.

Michael Cullen is ed­i­tor of Mar­ket­ing.ie; cullen@mar­ket­ing.ie

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