Peter Daire - Group Head of Sponsorship, The FA Share PDF Print E-mail
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Peter_DairePeter Daire has been Group Head of Sponsorship at The FA since 2007. Prior to this role, Daire was Commercial Manager of Sky Sports Ventures. Between 1997 and 2003, he served as Sponsorship Manager and Head of Social Media at Turner broadcasting, before which he was an Advertising Sales Executive At Channel 4. Daire has a BA honours degree in Business Studies, which he attained at the University of Sunderland.

By Colin Robinson

You originally studied business, what prompted your move into sport business?

I wanted to work in advertising. I’m a big sports fan. I started working at Channel 4 doing TV advertising sales. From there, I went to Turner Broadcasting; that was my first foray into sponsorship doing broadcasting and media sponsorship. Then I went to Sky Sports Ventures. Sky had a commercial team set up when they had shares in football clubs, doing deals for them and taking commission. So that was my move into sport from broadcasting and new media. I’ve now been here [at the FA] for four years.

What kind of advantage do you get from your background in broadcasting?

A big advantage. My first job at Channel 4 was selling ad space to agencies. When you’re plotting ad space and where it goes, it’s quite an aggressive environment between the buyer and the seller; mainly from the buyer coming toward the seller. At that time it was a much smaller marketplace on TV so they needed you and they wanted the best spot so being on the phone a lot and negotiating where the ads went was a quite a high pressure environment. It taught me to think on my feet. Whether its broadcast, sponsorship or sports sponsorship, and having some new media experience has definitely helped because that’s exploded now. The disciplines I’ve learnt in broadcasting, sponsorship and new media have definitely helped me in sport.

What do you look for when choosing sponsors?

First of all, it’s important that they’re the right type of brand, and that their objectives and aspirations match our own. Obviously, the financial runemeration; that’s important, but it’s not always the one with the biggest cheque wins. What brand they are, and what their objectives are, is as important. That shows in the partners we have. We have brands like Vauxhall who are a great British brand with big aspirations to increase the pride and volume of their brand and sales , which they’re doing very well at. We have Mars, which is great heritage brand like our own. Budweiser is a new global deal we’ve agreed for The FA Cup which is a global property . We have Carlsberg as a sponsor of the England team and Umbro who are our biggest partner and the football brand. The brands that we have are a good match with The FA and our properties.

How important is corporate social responsibility from your sponsors?

It’s really important. I don’t say that lightly. Although we’re  a football business, we’re not just about the England team and the FA Cup. The majority of what the FA does is befitting of a not for profit organisation. It’s to facilitate football for the 7 million people who play football every week, and the 400,000 volunteers that are out there making that happen. That’s the FA’s “day job.” A large proportion of the revenue we raise via sponsorship, broadcast and ticketing goes back into the game to facilitate grassroots football. The sponsors that we have in those areas like McDonald’s, Tesco, Vauxhall in our youth programme, Mars in our adult programme are all buying into something that’s very real, very tangible. If you total the revenue that we generate via sponsorship from grassroots football, it’s more than we make from our lead England partner. It’s big business for us and together with our sponsors we are doing good things with the money we make, it goes straight back into the game.

Do you think The FA, as the leading football organisation in the country, has a responsibility to promote a healthy life style? How would this fit in with deals that you have with McDonald’s and Carlsberg?

Those companies take their own responsibilities extremely seriously, Carlsberg and Budweiser especially with big CSR campaigns and responsible drinking programmes. In the UK and many other countries they’re bound by legislation from government and from within their own industry, so we’re very confident these companies take their own responsibilities very seriously. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. There’s plenty of proof points to demonstrate that, so that’s one of the first thing we look at when we’re talking to brands. Part of the reason that they’re partnering with us is to further prove that they take their own CSR very seriously. That’s what McDonald’s are doing as our Community Partner, recruiting coaches, helping volunteers and providing football for all within grassroots football, and Tesco with the skills programme for 5 to 11 year olds. Carlsberg are supporting our referees’ programme. All those brands are helping to provide football for all, which is part of a healthy lifestyle.

What percentage of the overall revenue for the FA comes from sponsorship?

Around 20 percent. The biggest revenue-earner for the FA is our broadcast deals .

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