This article originally appeared in City Edition, Volume 37, Issue 8
As Cork City’s women’s teams strive to become more professional, sponsors become more important, and there has never been a better time for sponsors and business partners to be involved in the club.
“In recent years, the club has taken huge strides to ensure the players in the women’s set up get everything they need to help them compete in the WNL,” said women’s team manager Rónán Collins.
“Our players are provided with pre-match meals on away trips, top-of-the-range video analysis, GPS to monitor players loads, all to optimise players performances. The players already make huge commitments both financially and time-wise to be as good as they can be. With the help of our sponsors, it is great that we can help them get the most out of this commitment in their development as players. Even the more basic things, such as training with match-quality footballs, having a full pitch for training in the winter months, and being able to train four nights in the week have all become possible
“We now have a network of about 150 players and 40 coaches and volunteers in the women’s section. Between them and their immediate family and friends and our supporters, that’s a community of people in the thousands. We believe and live the community ethos of FORAS and it’s great to have so many local businesses that this community can support.”
Gar Fleming, who owns Cork-based hearing aid supplier Audivox, one of the club’s jersey sponsors. He says the advantages of sponsoring women’s teams at Cork City FC are manifold.
“As well as feeling like we are helping to build and support a local team, we are getting more known in the local community,” he says. “The profile of the company is being recognised by more people. This is helped by having our name on the jerseys and social media posts tagging Audivox helps get the name out there.
“Over the past few seasons, I developed an interest in the WNL and the local women’s soccer league. I was sponsoring players in the Cork City men’s team and saw an opportunity to merge my sponsorship with the rising popularity and development of women’s sport. The WNL is underfunded but as a product it is as competitive and entertaining as the male counterpart. Getting an insight into how hard these sports people train and the effort and organising behind the scenes makes me proud to be involved.
“Sponsorship of women’s teams is as beneficial as sponsoring any sporting team in the locality. Any small or medium-size local business should budget to sponsor a local team. Audivox has sponsored other sporting clubs in the area too and will continue to do so.”Gary Hanrahan, marketing and business development manager at Douglas Credit Union, explains how their initial player sponsorship has blossomed to a bigger partnership with the club.
“We have always been very conscious of supporting local clubs but we never looked at individual sponsorship in sport,” says Hanrahan. “Once we were made aware that a local girl, Danielle Burke, from our common bond was a member of the team it was a no-brainer to get involved and we have not looked back since. It has also had a knock-on effect, with Cork Credit Unions sponsoring Cork City Academy, which includes the U17 girls team.
“Women’s sport is growing at a serious rate in Ireland and it is an exciting time to be associated with it, especially this year with 20x20. Cork City have been very good in terms of the exposure they have given us and also been open to other initiatives we may have. Being able to sponsor someone from our local area has helped Douglas Credit Union to reinforce our values with our members, and having Danielle available to promote our new current account has been a great help.”[caption id="attachment_109025" align="alignleft" width="518"] Caroline, Saoirse Noonan and Niall Hassett of Primetime, Washington Street[/caption]
Fashion retailer Primetime on Washington Street is another business who are delighted with their association with the club.“We started off as a player sponsor for Saoirse Noonan a few years ago and I couldn’t praise the club and players enough,” says owner Niall Hassett. “We have been so happy with the association that we have now expanded it to be a jersey sponsor and player of the month sponsor as well as Saoirse’s sponsor.
“The benefits are huge, we sell both men's and women's clothing, so to have a wonderful bunch of ambassadors from Cork City is fantastic, but we very much get a huge boost ourselves from this. Being able to sponsor local teams and sports means you’re part of your city. We don't just work here, we live here and these players are a credit to the club and our City.”
Cork City FC marketing executive Aaron Howey believes the reach the club has on social media as well as mainstream media sets it apart from others.“Sponsors of our women’s side have their logos regularly featured on various graphics and social media posts throughout the season,” says Howey. “Cork City is the most followed Women’s National League side with just short of 15,000 followers across all of our social media channels.
“Photos, videos and promotional graphics from our women’s side regularly appear on all the club’s social media pages, resulting in a total reach in the region of 150,000 people, the highest across the entire League of Ireland. We have a number of media partners and dedicated club photographers. No other club can provide the amount of exposure that can be achieved by being associated with Cork City.”Chris O'Mahony
All sponsors of our women’s team have their name printed in every City Edition. Check out Page 38 for a full list of sponsors.