Sports Summit

February 22, 2013

The Irish Sponsorship Summit took place at Croke Park in Dublin yesterday and among the speakers were Lisa Browne of Electric Ireland, Stephen Martin ,Olympic Council of Ireland and Olympic High Jumper Deirdre Ryan, telling the story of the very successful Electric Ireland Olympic sponsorship from a sponsor, rights holder and athlete perspective. Here are some extracts:


Lisa Browne, Electric Ireland

The collective story of the rights holder, the sponsor and the team member.

“Electric Ireland was moving from monopoly to full on competition.  It was a time of great stress for the organisation.  We were heavily regulated, with no control over pricing and had to give up 40% of market share as well as the ESB brand in supply.”

“At the time of the launch of Electric Ireland in March 2011, sponsorship was identified as a core tool in the transition.”

“We had very specific requirements.  An Irish brand with heritage that needed to become famous again.  We needed something to make us interesting and newsworthy.  It had to be sport or entertainment.”

“70% expressed themselves as hugely interested in the Olympics. It cut across class and gender.”

“Awareness of the brand leapt from 29% to 86% by the time of the Olympics.”

“We launched introducing four athletes, Deirdre Ryan, David Gillick, Katie Taylor and Derval O’Rourke.  The important thing was the journey rather than the medals.”

“The first stage was to introduce the Olympic partner logo to all customer facing material.”

“After more research we discovered a huge hunger for the stories behind stars of the past and of the future.”

“January 2012 we had to drop ESB from the dual branding of the company and we chose a 200 day countdown mechanic to put us in the news, in the hearts and minds of the consumers.”

“PR was central to our association, as well as engagement across the staff through personal appearances, involvement in training courses and more.”

“The outdoor campaign using electric blue colours, energetic imagery and individual athletes spun through partnership with RTE into a great TV campaign.”

“Awareness of the sponsorship peaked at 59% and we brought over 200,000 customers back to the brand, in no small part due to what we were able to do through the Olympic team.”

“The Olympics gave us content that enabled us to tell positive stories that reflected well on the brand.”


Stephen Martin, Olympic Council of Ireland

“Exclusivity, use of the logo, rights to activation with Team Ireland, publicity and collaboration with other partners are key to what we can deliver.”

“Have regular meetings, keep involved at every stage of your journey as a rights holder, and the sponsors’ as a company helping to facilitate that but needing to show a return on their investment.”

” We have a precious brand and we are very vigilant on any ambush marketing, we have to protect our brand our sponsors, the IOC and the Organising Committee LOCOG”

“the activation campaign raised the profile of Olympic sport, it had innovation with the first ever app for Team Ireland, and it go the country behind our athletes”

“sponsors support in general can add to the quality of what we can deliver”


Deirdre Ryan, Olympian

“Success requires meticulous planning and a top class team.  We spent four years immersed in technique, nutrition, training and the rest to produce marginal gains that make all the difference.  Sponsorship provided the funding for the right class of facilities at camps and that had a huge beneficial impact.”

“The sponsorship really did connect us.  Meeting Katie Taylor and our sailing team and all sorts at the launch was a new experience.  Meeting at PR events for Electric Ireland was the main way in which we met and the familiar faces you knew on entering the village was a real boost.”

“The involvement was fun and made us feel like superstars.  Training is a lonely pursuit and the glamour of TV ads and photo calls was great.”

“ The Olympic Council delivered a world class pre Games training and village environment for us, there was a real sense of Team Ireland ”

“Finally it gave me a great insight to a world post athletics that I enjoyed and that gives me a different perspective on preparation for the games.”


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