Following two successful years sponsoring the Irish Open and approx €8 million euros worth of investment, 3 today confirmed that it will not be renewing its sponsorship of the Irish Open for a third year.

In a challenging market place, 3’s focus in 2011 and beyond, is to grow the brand in the mass consumer and business markets.  Following a review of its sponsorship portfolio, a decision was taken to streamline activities. 3 believes its support of the Irish football team will deliver the most commercial value for the brand into the future.

3 has worked hard over the past two years to re-position the Irish Open as a world-class sporting event, fundamental to this was the delivery of a greatly improved date on The European Tour over the August bank holiday weekend.  This year’s event in Killarney showcase Ireland, golf, and hospitality at its very best with an attendance figure of 82,000.

Mary Hanafin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture & Sport commented: “The sponsorship of the Irish Open golf tournament by 3 has been central in ensuring the success of the tournament in Baltray in 2009 and in Killarney in 2010 where the event was widely acknowledged as being one of the best Irish Opens ever. I am mindful of the challenging financial climate in which the commercial world is operating at the moment and I acknowledge and appreciate the ongoing sponsorship of sport by 3 both at national and grassroots levels. I expect that the European Tour and Fáilte Ireland will now turn their attention to seeking a new sponsor so that the event can continue to be one of the showcases of Irish sport and of Ireland as a destination for golf.”

Robert Finnegan, CEO of 3, said he would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people and organisations that worked with 3 to achieve such success.  The Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Failte Ireland, The European Tour, world-class Irish Golfers, Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, Co. Louth Golf Club and all the other clubs and avid golfers that 3 met on its journey.

Robert said, “3 has worked tirelessly over the last two years and invested over €8 million to support the return of the Irish Open to world-class status. Following a great Irish finish with Shane Lowry in Baltray and having worked hard to secure a new date on the August Bank Holiday weekend, attendance at this year’s tournament in Killarney hit 82,000 – the highest for many years. Following 3’s commitment over the last two years, the Irish Open can continue to grow from strength to strength from here. Thank-you to everyone who helped 3 to make the Irish Open a world-class event and we wish everyone involved in Irish golf continued success in the future.”