When Peter McKenna, Marketing Magazine’s Marketer of the Year, launched GAAGO – a new live online streaming service for GAA games globally – many marketing industry observers speculated that it was because Croke Park couldn’t get a sponsor for their Champioships at a price tag in the region of €1.2 million. Personally, I didn’t subscribe to that theory as I was fully aware that a number of companies had expressed serious interest in replacing Ulster Bank.
However being an inquisitive sod I decided to ask some questions as it takes big sliothars to walk away from a guaranteed million plus and put your faith in a new untried venture. Noel Quinn, Media rights manager with the GAA, said “ having spent 12 months in research and development we are hugely confident that not only will GAAGO be an audience success but a commercially rewarding one also “
The concept is a simple one – its pay per view for 45 football and hurling championship games on any mobile device anywhere in the World (other than Ireland) for €110. Since its launch in May this year, the GAAGO service has been streamed by fans on nearly every continent of the world (all except Antarctica). To date, the highest number of streams of GAAGO has come from North America, followed by Great Britain. Australia and Canada has had the third and fourth highest number of streams respectively.
When you consider how other brands have benefited by sponsoring the GAA at all levels I strongly suspect that GO will enjoy the same success. Consider Etihad. I doubt if one in a 100 people in Ireland had ever heard of the airline prior to their sponsorship of the Championship. Now I suspect they would almost be a household name and that has come about almost entirely by their association with the GAA. Many brands have used their association with the GAA to build relationships with communities and consumers at parish, county and Provincial level. No other organisation in Ireland can help a brand achieve that in such numbers.
SuperValu are a great example of how commercially astute Peter McKenna and his team are and how conscious they are of working with brands to maximise their return from their association with the GAA. Super Valu’s shops at parish level have demonstrated a real partnership with the GAA through their ticket sales. The experience the GAA have with helping sponsors leverage assets and develop new business opportunities through their sponsorships will be very useful when it comes to growing the GAAGO brand. Over the years the GAA have entered into real partnership opportunities with sponsor, as in GAA Water, GAA Chocolate and so on. With RTE as the broadcast partner on GAAGO, it should present them with a myriad of marketing and communications opportunities.
When one considers the growth of first generation Irish diaspora in the last six years and the estimated 100 million second, third and so on generations of Irish abroad and the reach that the RTE player and their Radio programing has on all 5 continents, it is a given that GAAGO will be an outstanding success.