Off-road tyre manufacturer BFGoodrich has announced a two-year agreement with Connacht Rugby to drive the recruitment of referees.
It is the tyre brand’s first venture into team sports in Ireland, and the first corporate sponsorship for the provincial rugby team’s referee development programme.
As a result the 80 referees who officiate across the senior and junior leagues will now wear jerseys boasting the BFGoodrich logo.
Connacht Rugby’s head of rugby development, Joe Gorham, says the sponsorship with BFGoodrich has allowed Connacht to create a development fund to help in the recruitment and retention of referees who are vital for the growth of Connacht Rugby.
“Everything we do at Connacht Rugby is about people and place. We are an ambitious club and in BFGoodrich we have a strong brand which is aligned with our values and is a good fit for the rugby community.
“We want the highest quality referees we can get. We see this sponsorship as the entry point to a much stronger relationship in the future.”
The sponsorship deal will raise the profile of BFGoodrich and Kevin Burke Tyres (KBT ), which is the wholesale supplier of the brand’s tyres across Ireland.
Michael Goode, B2C Country Manager for BFGoodrich, says the company has previously sponsored motorsport in Ireland, but it wanted to try something different to achieve better exposure of the brand across the country.
“Rugby fans in Connacht are a good target demographic for the BFGoodrich tyre range sold by KBT. We expect the investment to be more beneficial than any sponsorships we have had locally in the past.”
He says Connacht Rugby is growing fast, with plans for a new 12,500-seat stadium and training facilities, and the company wants to grow with them.
“On any weekend during the season, more than 80 referees are officiating games over a large portion of the west of Ireland, which is a great billboard for BFGoodrich.”
In 2021 Kevin Burke Tyres formalised its distribution partnership with BFGoodrich, signing a three-year agreement to supply BFGoodrich tyres across Ireland until at least mid-2024, with the option to extend for a further two years.
KBT stocks the full range of BFGoodrich car, van, SUV and 4x4 tyres in the firm’s warehouse facility in Athenry, County Galway, and offers next-day delivery using its own fleet of vehicles. It already supplies more than 40 sub-dealers across Ireland.
Established in 1995, KBT has evolved from a tyre retailer catering for the local area to one of Ireland’s largest wholesale tyre providers. In 2019 the firm relocated into a purpose-built facility located beside one of Ireland’s largest road networks.
The BFGoodrich brand is widely recognised as a world leader in off-road tyres, having first started manufacturing in Akron, Ohio, in 1870.