Early last year it was announced that German retailer Lidl had signed a three-year sponsorship deal with women’s Gaelic football. The firm invested €1.5 million into the sport in the first year.
The Ladies Gaelic Football Association’s PR and Media Manager, Derek Kinnevey, praises TG4 for their support and broadcasting of Ladies Gaelic since 2001 which helped in gaining the support of such a worldwide brand.
“The attraction for Lidl to our sport would go back to TG4 who are the sponsors of the Ladies Football Championship since 2001. They brought Ladies Gaelic football to the public, people like Cora Staunton and Sinead Goldrick and all these wonderful players. TG4 managed to make household names out of them.”
Lidl has been a huge game changer for Ladies Gaelic football and Kinnevey outlined that their investment in the sport has had huge benefits for the retailer. Their involvement has enabled Lidl to be able to reach into the communities which are at the heart of the GAA.
“Lidl realised and recognised that ladies football as a sport is very, very big but maybe that it doesn’t have the support that it deserves from the general public and the media, but that it wouldn’t take a lot of work to shake things up…They (Lidl) have established links into villages in every county but they needed a property that had the same kind of reach and could help Lidl get the recognition for being a community based franchise.”
The advert for the Lidl sponsorship campaign.
Since Lidl’s sensational sponsorship deal it has brought Ladies Gaelic football to a whole new level, the sport has been continuing to evolve and develop on a public sphere. Most recently the sport made headlines when the first ever double header took place in Croke Park. Mayo ladies faced Dublin before the men’s throw in at 5pm.
Whilst the LGFA believes that scheduling women’s fixtures before the men’s are the way forward Kinnevey explains the practicality of making the double headers happen and what can cause barriers.
“It’s not just as simple as turning up and playing a match, there is a huge amount of work that goes into making double headers happen. We in Ladies Gaelic football are very keen to make double headers happen…but there are some real practical barriers. The National Football League happens for both sports between January and April…and if you think about weather in Ireland during that time, you have very unsettled weather where pitches aren’t able to take two matches.”
Other elements that can cause problems in the organisation of double headers, the LGFA PR and Media Manger outlined, are the costs involved, the requirement of having someone on site hours earlier to open the gates, needing individuals to be available to provide coffee at the shop stands. Despite all these issues the LGFA does their best to make it happen because they understand the dreams of every young girl.