Sport and Business United

Sport for Business is a venture that has become increasingly visible within the major business supporters of sport on the island of Ireland over the past two years.

It offers a unique perspective on how sport and business can work together to better effect and publishes a very topical and insightful daily news digest wish goes out to 3,000 key influencers from the head of the GAA to the bosses at Kingspan Stadium and from PwC to the corridors of power in a number of government departments.

I caught up with Rob Hartnett, the man behind this network of leaders, in Dublin fresh from having hosted the Business of Sports Science Conference which drew Paul McGinley over to Dublin to talk about the role that technology plays within the game of golf.

“We are involved in a wide variety of projects drawing together smart people from business and sport to see what benefit they can bring to each other,” said Hartnett.

There is no ‘typical’ day in what he and his team are doing.

In the early weeks of 2015 he had been launching a new initiative aimed at tackling out of control drinking, hosting the Ryder Cup winning Captain in front of 120 business leaders at the Royal Dublin Society, speaking to a conference of racecourse managers and putting the finishing touches to a campaign aimed at encouraging the discovery of role models at the upper end of Women’s sport.

“Sport is this great universal language which everybody gets excited about.”

“Whether that is cheering Rory Best at the Aviva Stadium or Hurricane Fly to victory at Leopardstown we are an island for whom sport means so much.”

“What we have been able to do is translate the passion that exists in sport into projects that business can get behind to reach customers, deliver in corporate responsibility and make a difference.”

“The Women in Sport campaigns are especially important.”

“Since we hosted our first seminar on the subject in 2012 Continental Tires, Liberty Insurance and Aon have come into the sponsorship space that remains so clean and uncluttered for Women’s sport.”

“There is still a big gap between how boys and girls are encouraged to stick with sport but it’s shrinking and the challenge is to maintain momentum so that young women can get the same benefit from an active sporting lifestyle as young men.”

“Initiatives that Ulster Rugby, the IFA and Ulster GAA are promoting can be made stronger by bringing business in to help shape them for growth and a wider reach.”

“That’s what we do every day of the year, with more than 80 big businesses across Ireland and over 30 national governing bodies of sport.”

“We work with education institutions including the University of Ulster and we are only at the start of something that can really make a difference to Irish sport, Irish business and Irish society.”

Hartnett is passionate about his subject and Sport for Business is a network that it is worth talking to if you want to speak the language of sport.


Contact Sport for Business at

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