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Sports Direct to sponsor Cork'...
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Sports Direct to sponsor Cork's hurling and football teams

It's understood that Sports Direct, the major sports retailer owned by businessman Mike Ashley, is to become the main sponsor of Cork GAA's football and hurling teams.

The Sunday Times reports that Ashley's company has agreed to a five year deal with the Leesiders, which is set to be worth in €2million.

It's also reported that there are significant performance bonuses included in the deal of up to an additional €2million, such as a boot deal and €200000 for winning an All-Ireland title.

It is the first time Sports Direct has engaged in a sponsorship deal with an inter-county set-up.

Cork's previous arrangement with Chill Insurance, their main sponsor for eight years, came to an end at the end of 2020.

Ashley is a billionaire who shot to prominence following his takeover of Newcastle United in 2007.

There have been attempts to sell the Premier League club in recent years, including last summer when Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, Reuben Brothers and Amanda Staveley's PCP Capital Partners combined for a package worth £300million.

Sports Direct is a sportswear chain with a significant number of outlets across Ireland and the UK.

Ashley also owns the House of Fraser franchise, a chain of arount 50 department stores located around the UK.

The news of the new sponsorship deal comes on the back of last week's FAI AGM hearing that the association will have to pay loan repayments of €100000 each month until October of 2025.

The FAI had agreed a sponsorship deal with Sports Direct in 2018, and requested early payment, but the deal was later terminated by Sports Direct.

Cork's senior footballers lost out to Tipperary in the Munster final in 2020 after a dramatic semi-final win over old rivals Kerry, while the county's hurlers were beaten by Tipperary in the All-Ireland qualifiers after suffering defeat at the hands of Waterford in Munster.

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