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Premier League in Record Attendances

THE Irish Football Association  launched the third season of the Carling Premiership with the announcement that match attendances have increased by almost 20,000 since the leading beer brand took on the sponsorship two years ago.

The new season, which kicks off on Saturday (August 6), is eagerly anticipated by football fans in Northern Ireland and follows a hugely successful two years of Carling’s sponsorship of the Premiership. 

During that time all Carling Premiership clubs have improved dramatically not only on the pitch but off it as well. There are new facilities at each of the 12 Carling Premiership grounds including 3G pitches at Crusaders and Cliftonville. 

Hugh Wade, Chairman of the Premiership Management Committee, said: "We are looking forward to yet another exciting and action-packed season with the full and generous support of sponsors Carling. 

"The Carling Premiership is getting better every single season and we hope to build on last year's successes. Carling continues to support the league both financially and with additional marketing activity, which has once again raised the league’s profile to new levels. 

"Fans are coming out in their thousands each week and I'm sure the support will continue to grow this season and for many more years to come," he added. 

Carling marketing director Dara O’Donnell said he was looking forward to another successful season ahead. 

"Carling is very happy to be associated with the Premiership in Northern Ireland and we are confident it can only get bigger and better this season," said Dara. 

"Already during our two years of sponsoring the League, attendances have increased, grounds have been improved and the standard of play continues to improve. 

"In the coming season we will be taking this support to the next level with exciting new projects – which we will announce over the coming months," he added. 

The new season promises to be an exciting one as reigning Carling Premiership champions Linfield will be aiming to maintain their place at the top. Last year’s runners-up Crusaders will be hoping to contend once again for the title, boosted by their European exploits this summer while Glentoran are desperate to bounce back after a disappointing 12 months in the League. Carrick Rangers could also be a team to watch, having made a return to the top flight. 

The three year deal signed by Carling in 2009, worth close to a quarter of a million pounds, marked a significant investment for the beer brand in local football. It is the highest level of investment in the local league’s history.

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