#FECD18 In Review

Sport for Business was live on March 28th, 2018 Ireland’s largest Fan Engagement Conference at the Aviva Stadium.

Olympian and BBC Analyst Colin Jackson was among a star line up of speakers who delivered inspiration and information on how the worlds of sport and the fans that support it are growing increasingly bound by technology and marketing.

Sport for Business hosted two discussions, one on the ways in which Celtic has built and maintained its global fan base and the second on how clubs and fans can best communicate with each other alongside Mark Bradley and Niamh O’Mahoney.

We were also one of the judging panel of the Best Use of Digital Award in which was won by Basketball Ireland after stiff competition from the FAI and Rowing Ireland.

Here is a flavour of some of the moments ahred through the day.

09.30 Where’s your head at; A look at what is coming in sport and engagement

Chair: Oisin Langan, Newstalk
Scott McLeod – Head of Engagement, Everton FC
Vishnu Kumar – Head of Digital – CPL50
Barry Cunningham – Digital Marketing manager, IRFU

“When we last won the Grand Slam in 2009, Irish Rugby didn’t have a Facebook page.  There is danger in relying too much though on a third-party social site.  In the past three weeks traffic to the Irish Rugby website has been down, despite the success at Twickenham, because of a change to the ways in which Google is displaying its own sports content first.”

”Our digital mix incorporates hard and fast commercial targets.”

”When we are winning the match tickets sell themselves at the highest level.  That isn’t the case though when the winning stops.  Our job is to be always selling the sport, to sponsors, to fans, to all our stakeholders.  It’s about more than awareness.”

”We are not a TV station but we do want to provide content.  Mass media delivers the mass audience but we want to from a different angle, and to have a direct relationship with the fans.”

– Barry Cunningham, Irish Rugby

”We are growing the fan base, and growing the loyalty of the fans within that.”

”The content that delivers most can come from the least likely sources.  When you have players that authentically engage with fans that when things can take off.  It’s about Seamus Coleman getting involved with fans who have done a video themselves. It’s about being real and fans are savvy enough to realise what is genuine.”

– Scott McLeod, Everton

”First priority is to make sure our fans get their content and that they engage with it.”

”Twitter came to us last year, wanting to monetise our content as a partnership.  The same conversations are happening with Facebook.”

– Vishnu Kumar

10.10 Is OTT the future of sport viewing consumption?

Chair: Colm O’Mealoid, COO, Sportego
Marcus O’Buachalla, Head of Communication, Leinster Rugby
Paul Morgan – Head of Communication, Aviva Rugby
Seamus Kenny – Meath GAA

”Key thing for us is bums on seats so live streaming is counter intuitive at the professional end.  We use media to engage ‘from the ground up’ with partners and with our own full-time videographer.”

”It always has to be a collaborative approach between ‘our’ media and ‘the’ media.”

”Leo Cullen’s  twin-track approach to all media is ‘Does it impact on the 80 minutes’ and if no to that, ‘does it benefit Leinster Rugby?’ Once you know the rules of engagement it makes everyone’s job easier.”

– Marcus O’Buachalla

”Social media has created the opportunity and the hunger to be ‘always on’ in Sport”

– Paul Morgan

”Commercial reality is that even an amateur team costs a lot to run. Whatever money we make from a paywall goes back into teams and development.

”There is some forgiveness from fans for less than broadcast quality but it is already being judged against TV standards and that is only going to become more demanding.”

– Seamus Kenny

10.50 Coffee Break and Networking

11.05 Data, capturing insights and the importance of GDPR

Chair: James Dickens, head of data, Sportego
Fiona Green, MD Winners CRM – UK
Bas Schnater, CRM & Fan Engagement, AZ Alkmaar
Daniel McGeachie, CRM and Digital Manager, Bradford City

”We are only a few weeks away from GDPR but the main activity is busting myths like what kind of permissions are needed.”

”You can’t say it will never happen because it already is.”

”Process is that a complaint has to be made, then it has to be acted upon by local regulator. Most important thing is to be genuine and honest with fans.”

– Fiona Green

”I’m being up front.  I’m asking fans to give me permission to keep talking to them about football. If they don’t give it our numbers drop and our value to sponsors drops.  If you don’t help me to help you then football will get more expensive.”

– Daniel McGeachie

11.45 Matt Lynch – Venue Inc

Delivering Experience through Front Line Brand Ambassadors – A Case Study with examples from the NFL, Wembley Stadium, Atlanta Braves & Walt Disney Company

12.05 The Celtic Way

Rob Hartnett of Sport for Business chats with Kerry Keenan and Gordon Kaye of Celtic FC

Great story from Kerry about capturing video of Pep Guardiola who asked could he go out on the pitch and was clearly in awe of what Celtic Park was like.


12.45 Best use of digital award

And the winners are 🥁 Basketball Ireland  Great approach to innovation, uninhibited by modest budget.

Great credit also to runners up FAI and Rowing Ireland

12.50 Lunch and Networking

13.30 The Jon Burkhart show

14.00 Panel on social media

Chair: Dr Olivia Hurley – Assistant Prof. Sport Psychology IADT & UCD
Colin Jackson – Champion Sportsman & Motivational Speaker
Valerie Mulcahy, Cork GAA
Sene Naoupu, Irish Rugby & PSG Teneo

Irish Women’s rugby panel have self-imposed social media restriction from night before the game to 1 PM on the day after.

Sene Naoupu

Social Media intrinsic to raising €300,000 for homeless charities in six weeks before Christmas

Always be conscious of time spent with those who aren’t present versus those who are

Valerie Mulcahy

It is a huge resource to gather knowledge for athletes, but you have to be careful  A vampire can’t come into your room unless you invite them in.

Seeing how a Brand like Red Bull, that supports Wings for Life, uses social in a positive way is invaluable in terms of your own sense of it, and what we can pass on to others

Colin Jackson

14.40 Coffee Break

15.00 Fan Experience vs Fan Ownership?

Chair: Rob Hartnett, Sport for Business
Mark Bradley – Fan Experience Co
Niamh O’Mahony – SD Europe

15.35 Is eSports now mainstream in the UK/Ireland?

Chair: Jonny Madill – Sheridan Sport
Malph Minns – Strive Sponsorship
Bryan McNamara – Raid GG
Adam Whyte – GOAT Agency

16.05 Staying relevant – how can event driven sports capture digital space

Chair: Oisin Langan, Newstalk
Derek Kinnevey – Head of Communication, Paralympic Ireland
Fiona Hynes, Head of Communication, Special Olympic Europe
Mark Brooks, Marketing Manager, Belfast Giants

16:35 Using Sport as a Platform for Community Engagement

Geoff Wilson, Geoff Wilson Consultancy


Join us for a special Business of Cycling Breakfast in Dublin on April 11th when we will hear the inspiring story of Peter Ryan’s journey from Tipperary to Rio, the tale of the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle and the possibilities that cycling offers to individuals and the Business community. Find out more here.

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