From Irish Times April 24th:

RTÉ is seeking a new sponsor for soap opera Fair City for the first time in nine years. Ireland’s longest-running soap is available to sponsor from May 1st, RTÉ Media Sales said, with the broadcaster looking for a minimum term of three months for an asking price of €150,000.

This is the first time the sponsorship has been up for grabs since 2014, when insurance broker company Chill Insurance signed on to back the soap, which airs four times a week on RTÉ One.

RTÉ said each episode of Fair City, which is made in-house at its Donnybrook campus and is now in its 34th year, is watched by more than 300,000 people, with the soap reaching more than 1.2 million adults every week. To date in 2023, it has also amassed 1.2 million streams on the RTÉ Player.

“Family and community have always been at the heart of Fair City, with storylines reflecting the values and mores of community life across Ireland, making it hugely popular with viewers,” the sponsorship offer notice reads.

“Over the past 30-plus years Fair City has tackled many topical and sometimes controversial storylines previously unseen on Irish television. The storytelling is universal in nature yet specific to its location in north Dublin city, and stories are told in a way that can be tragic, witty and poignant. This is a drama that has broad appeal for all audiences.”

The deal includes a total of 48 sponsorship stings a week, once repeats are taken into account as well as “pre-roll” and “mid-roll” ads on the RTÉ Player.

Chill Insurance’s sponsorship of Fair City was identified by marketing group Core last year as having the third biggest reach of all Irish television sponsorships, behind the Avonmore brand’s sponsorship of RTÉ Weather and Renault’s sponsorship of the Late Late Show.

Supermarkets are restricted from sponsoring the soap, RTÉ said.

The programme already has a long-term arrangement with Spar owner BWG Foods. In 2011 the opening of a Spar in Carrigstown, the fictional suburb in the show, became RTÉ’s first high-profile product placement deal following a relaxation of broadcasting regulations.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics