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Sport Ireland pays €80,000 for “influencers” to promote campaigns

The body responsible for promoting the development of sport in Ireland has spent more than €80,000 employing “influencers” since 2019.

Sport Ireland said social media and prominent influencers, including some former and active athletes, have been used 27 times to advance their campaigns, which range from keeping people healthy to advocating a return to sport after Covid-19.

Former rugby stars John Hayes and Tommy Bowe have been paid €5,000 and €7,500 respectively to support Sport Ireland’s separate awareness campaigns in 2020 and 2021, with both making media appearances and posting on social media as part of the deal.

Former 2FM DJ Eoghan McDermott was awarded €4,000 to promote European Week of Sport in 2020, which included a commitment to multiple media interviews and four social media posts.

Other influencers and celebrities include Virgin Media presenter and actor Simon Delaney, who received €6,500 for “influencer activity”, activist and journalist Joanne O’Riordan (€1,100) and influencer Ailbhe Garrihy, sister of RTÉ DJ Doireann who was paid €8,000 for social media posts related to Sport Ireland stay well Campaign 2021.

By far Sport Ireland’s highest paid influencer was Tadhg Fleming, a content creator from Co Kerry with 2.9 million followers on TikTok.

Mr Fleming, who first went viral in 2017 through a video of a bat in his family’s kitchen, was paid €12,000 for a series of social media posts and stories for Sport Ireland Let’s get back to sports Campaign.


                            
                            
                            
                            By far Sport Ireland's highest paid influencer was Tadhg Fleming, a content creator from Co Kerry with 2.9 million followers on TikTok.  Image: Tadhg Fleming via Instagram.
By far Sport Ireland’s highest paid influencer was Tadhg Fleming, a content creator from Co Kerry with 2.9 million followers on TikTok. Image: Tadhg Fleming via Instagram.

His reach was the largest recorded for any of the influencer-specific campaigns run by the entity, with his TikTok and Facebook stories reaching 156,000 and 320,000 people, respectively.

Former Cork hurler and disability activist Jamie Wall generated 139,000 impressions for a series of media interviews and Instagram stories as part of the same €2,000 campaign.

Only two of the people who have appeared in the various Sport Ireland campaigns have been used more than once – Olympic runner David Gillick, who received just under €6,400, and basketball star and RTÉ presenter Emer O’Neill, who received €7,500 for two paid for separate jobs, including an eight-part video series on family fitness.

Sport Ireland said the people chosen for some campaigns were chosen on the basis of market research, while others were chosen based on their suitability for the target audience.

It said all payments were made by the agencies involved in each campaign and did not come directly from Sport Ireland.

The variance in payments depends on a number of factors, including “the campaign requirements, the time commitment, the type of work required and the location of the work.”

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