Sport for Business Chats – Sinéad Cassidy

Sport for Business is all about the people within our community. The people that compete, the people that support, the people that make commercial partnerships work and the people that keep the whole sporting circus on the road.

In a new series, we want to introduce you to those people, initially twice weekly but as we hit our stride as part of a daily feature so that we can get around to as many of our wide range of interesting members as we can.

Today, the third in our series is Sinéad Cassidy from Galway Racecourse

Tell us who you are and what you do in the business of sport?

Sinéad Cassidy, Sales & Marketing Manager for Galway Racecourse

The Galway Races Summer Festival, Monday 27th July to Sunday 2nd August – Irelands’ Largest Horse Racing Festival

A Galway girl; born and bred in the beautiful West of Ireland. I joined the progressive team at Galway Racecourse over three years ago and I am truly loving it. I look after the Sales and Marketing function for the Galway Races. Here I get to combine my love of horses and marketing all in one, while also allowing my creativity to kick in. I have a passion for what I do in particular increasing fan engagement and enhancing our customer’s experience when they come horse racing to Ballybrit.

Give us one or two things you have done in getting to where you are in 2020 that you feel were of importance?

Research. Asking questions and listening to our customers, always. We strive to improve our offering and our guests experience each year so market research is key for us as a team. Plus, connecting with our local community and other sporting bodies, that’s something I’m passionate about. Further collaboration.

What excites you about working in the business of sport?

That we get to make peoples day. Our goal is to offer our guests a really fun memorable experience, where they can come together with family, colleagues and friends to have a fantastic day out.

We’re in the entertainment business, we sell fun, with horse racing at the core of what we do. I love that by what we do and offer here at Galway Races, we can get to essentially make people happier, be it after winning on a race or dancing to one of our many bands, or having a blast with friends while you’re here with us. It’s pretty special this business and I feel lucky to help make that happen.

And what would you find to be an occasional (or regular) frustration?

The weather (as we’re an outdoor event). But I’ve learned we can’t control it, so with the help of a Child of Prague (I kid you not) and extra covering for our racegoers, fingers crossed we’re making progress to counteract it. I literally have my fingers crossed after I typed that!

What are some of the things you have on your work agenda for the next twelve months?

Preparing and presenting our Sales and Marketing Strategy to our Board of Directors; signing off the creative for our Summer press ad campaign; organising events such as a very cool Sponsors morning with an inspiring business leader; organising our National Press Launch; rolling out our media campaign; the promotion and sales of our tickets and hospitality packages; liaising with the local business community; PR angles for each day of the Festival and liaising with all media.  The list goes on but I love it.

And give us one thing that you would like to achieve in a personal capacity?

Travel and explore more of the world. That and complete a course in Harvard Business School, ‘The Business of Entertainment, Media, and Sports’.

Outside of your own sport give us one event in an Irish and one in an international context that you would like to experience?

In Ireland, an international soccer game.

Overseas, I’d love to attend The Open golf Championship. They do such great work marketing and selling their event. First-class in my view.

Give us one sporting partnership over recent years that you admire?

Aldi and their sponsorship of Irish rugby.

And one individual that you really respect?

Anna May McHugh, MD of The National Ploughing Championships. I worked for her some years ago. She left a big impression on me and I learnt a lot from her.  Essentially, be humble, be hungry and be hardworking.

Tell us something about you that people might not know?

Back in December 2019 I sat up on a racehorse for the first time and have been riding out with the team in Gordon Elliot’s since. I show jumped as a kid and occasionally sit up on a horse when I’m in London at my brother Brian’s show jumping yard, but nothing like what I’ve been doing at Gordon’s.

It’s been the scariest and most exhilarating personal challenge I’ve ever set myself but, I did it. I truly admire what jockeys do, day in day out. They are so dedicated, brave and physically fit; they’re athletes.

Their work ethic is phenomenal. I’m literally exhausted each week after the gallops but proud of myself too. You know that saying, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’, well, that’s what this experience has been for me.

I feel I’ve developed a better understanding of the sport and my respect and admiration for what jockeys and stable staff do behind the scenes has gone up massively.

What is the thing about being a member of Sport for Business that you get the most from?

Meeting other like-minded professionals and the support and advice I get if I ask.

Plus the networking events are great for connecting with people.

And our Quickfire round to finish off…

Hurling/Camogie or Football?

Football or Rugby World Cup
Rugby. A good friend plays for the women’s tea, Sene Naoupu – she’s a phenomenal  sports athlete and such an inspiring person to be around)

Twitter or Instagram?

Night in or night out?
Night out with my friends

Early bird or night owl?
Nowadays an early bird.

Favourite meal?

Anything served to me in Kirwans Lane Galway – delicious food and service, a must if you’re visiting Galway race week. The place is electric!

Favourite Movie in the past twelve months?

Favourite Song on your playlist?
Queen: Don’t Stop Me Now

Favourite Book you’ve read in the past year?

Overcoming by Vicky Phelan

Sporting Hero?

Katie Taylor

If you are a member of Sport for Business and would like to take part in our Sport for Business Chats, email us today and we will be in touch.

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