New sponsorship deal marks 'new dawn' for Irish League

When Gerard Lawlor took over as Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Football League almost two years ago his goal was to make the entire league more professional.

Today he and the association took further strides in doing just that by announcing a deal believed to be worth over one million pounds to the local economy.

Sports Direct is the new title sponsor of both the Premiership and Women’s Premiership.

The exciting new three-year partnership marks a new dawn for NIFL as the biggest commercial deal in the history of the league.

The leading sports retailer has a proud heritage in football and Northern Ireland with 22 stores in Northern Ireland, with further investment planned for 2024.

Gerard Lawlor, NIFL Chief Executive said, “We are proud to announce this landmark partnership with Sports Direct as the new title sponsor for both our Men’s and Women's Premiership for the next three years.

“This is a huge step forward for the league as we grow commercially, and to bring a major brand like Sports Direct as a partner and sponsor is testament to the growth of our business in recent years and that they can see the ambition we have to keep pushing forward and want to be part of that journey.”

Leonard Brassel, Managing Director Sports Direct Ireland said, “This is an exciting time to be involved in football in Northern Ireland and we’re delighted to be partnering with NIFL to sponsor both Premiership leagues. NIFL is rich with history but also has so much to look forward to and we feel that it is the perfect fit for us.”

The ground-breaking partnership will feature rewards for both clubs and their loyal supporters, accompanied by innovative new promotions that will raise awareness and take the leagues to unprecedented new levels.

First to kick off will be the new Sports Direct Women’s Premiership later this month in a huge season for female football under the NI Football League with the league expanded to 10 clubs.

The inaugural Sports Direct Premiership campaign for their male counterparts will commence in August 2023, as the 12 best teams across the country will compete for the prestigious Gibson Cup trophy, the most coveted prize in football for over 140 years.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.