A DECADE OF #SeriousSupport.
An incredible journey since the infamous Ladyball ad.
The Ladies Gaelic Football Association [LGFA] and Lidl Ireland today announced a four-year contract extension, bringing the successful partnership through to the conclusion of the 2025 season.
Lidl, the LGFA’s official retail partner since 2016, have pledged to invest an additional €5 million, bringing the total investment to €10 million across 10 years of sponsorship.
Today’s news came after the Association confirmed details of a comprehensive live-streaming platform yesterday, with over 100 live games that are not being shown live on TG4 available to watch through a subscription service.
A season ticket that covers all games in 2022 is €50, with a weekend pass €10 and a single game available for €5. There is also the option to buy single games after they have concluded for €3 each.
These are two massive steps in two days for ladies football, with the game growing exponentially in recent years, on and off the field.
“It’s still growing,” Galway star Nicola Ward tells The42. “Each year you come back, Lidl are coming up with something new.
“Even if the games aren’t on TG4, you can watch the stream online. For video analysis and that for other teams, you can look back on everything. The double-headers; both Leinster finals being in Croke Park is massive. There’s just massive improvements each year and I suppose it will only continue to grow as well.”
Cáit Lynch of Kerry echoes the Kilkerrin-Clonberne All-Ireland winner’s words.
“It’s such an exciting time to be involved in ladies football at the moment,” the 2012 All-Star and recent returnee to the inter-county scene nods. “For so many decades really, we’ve been struggling and fighting for small wins.
A decade of #SeriousSupport as @lidl_ireland pledges commitment of €10 million investment in Ladies Football in 10 years of sponsorship
Lidl & LGFA announce 4-year partnership extension until 2025https://t.co/1ShMR2vLUs@ConnachtLGFA @LeinsterLGFA @MunsterLGFA @UlsterLadies
— Ladies Football (@LadiesFootball) February 8, 2022
“I know there’s still a load that we can do in the future, but it’s a really exciting time that we have the backing of Lidl.
“It’s great, there’s so much media coverage at the moment, even over Covid when games were being streamed… I think that was quite beneficial, it increased accessibility to games that people mightn’t have actually gone to. People now have it in their homes. It’s brilliant.”
As well as the investment of another €5 million, Lidl have committed to focusing on further progress in the areas of attendance and participation.
They say they will help fill Croke Park to full capacity at the TG4 All-Ireland finals by 2025 – the record attendance is 56,114 from 2019 – while plans are in place to increase participation and break the trend of drop-out rates among girls by investing in their already-profitable programmes.
“It’s safe to say it’s changed Ladies Gaelic football as a whole, even just the promotion,” Dublin ace Carla Rowe says of the Lidl partnership.
“I know there’s debate around the filling Croke Park, but the live-streaming and the posters and all that you are seeing are huge for young girls coming up through the sport, having role models.
“The support has been massive and it’s great to hear that they’re signing on for another four years. In total, you’re looking at 10 years’ support — and a lot of money and resources.”
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Rowe, Ward and Lynch were all speaking at today’s league launch, with throw-in pencilled in for this weekend.
Meath All-Ireland champion Monica McGuirk and injured Tipperary and Donegal stars Aishling Moloney and Emer Gallagher were also in attendance, with some of the players heavily involved as Lidl ambassadors across several programmes.
Gallagher is one of such.
“We were just talking about it earlier on within the girls: even from Covid, how things have improved so much in terms of how visible the sport is and how visible the players are,” she beamed.
“Especially for young girls, they need to be able to see their role models and to see what they could be in the future. That really wasn’t possible four years ago, because it wasn’t really being broadcast anywhere. You couldn’t see a ladies game online, you would have to physically go to the game and that wasn’t always an option for a lot of young people.
“I honestly think the development that we’ve seen in the sport has been down to how much it’s been pushed, broadcast and publicised. You can tune into Facebook and watch any of the matches this year because they’re all being live-streamed. That’s night and day to where we were five years ago, not to mention 15 years ago.
“If things keep going the way that they’re going, who knows where our sport is going to reach?”