The winners of the 2023 Irish Sport Industry Awards, hosted by the Federation of Irish Sport in association with Financial Broker, were announced at an awards ceremony at Dublin’s Westin Hotel on Thursday, 25th May. Deputy Niamh Smyth TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Arts, Sport and Media delivered the keynote address to an audience of representatives from across the sports sector.
The 11 award categories recognise the value that sport adds to the Irish economy from the sports industry perspective, in addition to celebrating the ongoing work done by national governing bodies and local sports partnerships to promote sport and physical activity nationwide. The Sport industry in Ireland supports 64,000 jobs and stimulates €3.3 billion in household spending. For the full list of winners see below.
The coveted award for National Governing Body of the Year went to Swim Ireland. Swim Ireland has had a transformational year by taking a new approach to achieve their goal of having an ‘An Island of Swimmers’. They have made great strides in the area of inclusion and prioritised the life skill of swimming with particular focus on increasing opportunities for people regardless of their age, ability, background, or location.
The winner for the Outstanding Contribution to Irish Sport for 2023 is Frances Kavanagh. Over the years, Frances has continued to help create opportunities for athletes with disabilities by pursuing a programme of participation and performance. Frances has worked tirelessly across many organisations and her commitment to Special Olympics Ireland has been second to none.
The Jimmy Magee FIS/ASJI Sports Coverage of the Year Award, was presented to Rónán Ó Coisdealbha. Rónán is head of sport at TG4, a position that he has held for 25 years. Under Ronan’s guidance, TG4 has continued to spearhead the TV station’s outstanding coverage of a wide range of sports – local, national and international.
This year saw the introduction of the inaugural Women in Business in Sport Award, in partnership with KPMG. This award is to. It recognise sustained excellence by a female professional working in business related to sport on the island of Ireland that has delivered innovation, growth, leadership, impactful campaigns or standout services in the industry. The inaugural winner was Dr. Fiona Chambers.Fiona Chambers has been a senior leader in higher education for more than 30 years with a real focus on sport and innovation. Over that time Fiona has developed expertise across many areas of business including in strategic design in multinational educational environments and human-centred innovation.
Mary O’Connor, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport said, “Congratulations to all the award winners this evening. The awards are a celebration of the ongoing work done by national governing bodies and local sports partnerships to promote sport and physical activity nationwide. They also serve to recognise the invaluable relationship between business and sport in Ireland and the value that sport adds to the Irish economy. It is important to the Federation to highlight this and give prominence to the business of sport.”
Liam Carberry, President Brokers Ireland said, “In a time of digital dependency and excessive screen time, the immense physical and psychological value of sports and active participation in community-based teams and associations is more important now than ever to society. The Irish Sports Awards celebrate and recognise a diverse section of organisations, individuals, and capabilities that influence the structures and development of sport in this country, and I congratulate all award winners on the pivotal role that they play in this process, from the grassroots up.”
Full List of Award Winners
- Best Sports Sponsorship – Electric Ireland, GAA Minor Championship ‘This is Major’
- Best use of Communications Platform in Sport – Basketball Ireland, basketballireland.tv/In Game Digital Scoresheet-Swish All Hoops App
- Best Initiative to Promote Women in Sport & Physical Activity – Golf Ireland – LevelPar
- Best Initiative to Promote Inclusivity in Sport & Physical Activity – Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown Sports Partnership, Inclusive Cycling For All
- Local Sports Partnership of the Year – Laois Sports Partnership
- National Governing Body of the Year – Swim Ireland
- Best New Sports Business of the year – Output Sports
- Best Sports Business of the year – Irish American Events Ltd., Aer Lingus College Football Classic
- Women in Business in Sport Award, in partnership with KPMG – Dr. Fiona Chambers
- The Jimmy Magee Award for Sports Coverage of the year – Rónán Ó Coisdealbha, Head of Sport TG4
- Outstanding Achievement for Contribution to Irish Sport Award – Frances Kavanagh