Sport Ireland has signed a multi-year partnership agreement with global leader in the field of business analytics software and services, SAS.
The multinational company which employs 112 people across it’s two Irish offices in Dublin will now become the Official Analytics Partner to the Sport Ireland Institute through to March 2021.
The landmark agreement, a first for the Sport Ireland Institute, will see SAS analytics technology employed across a range of projects within targeted sports in order to enhance preparations and impact performance of Irish athletes at international competitions such as the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Using information collected by the performance support teams in these sports, the SAS technology will facilitate the creation of dynamic performance databases and interactive tools. The insights from these will help athletes and coaches develop new and improved ways of working to improve athlete performance in training and competitions.
The partnership sees SAS providing a range of benefits to the Sport Ireland Institute including software licensing & hosting, consultancy services and education for key users of the SAS analytics tools.
One of the great benefits of the Institute has been the ability to provide substantially higher levels of support across the entire high performance ‘family’ than would be possible if it were down to the individual sports themselves.
Improving Ireland’s performance at elite level on a world stage is one of the key elements of the ten year National Policy on Sport launched by Government earlier in 2018 and this new deal will be a major step in the right direction.
“The partnership announced today between Sport Ireland and SAS is a very welcome and timely development for all of the athletes and coaches who engage with the Sport Ireland Institute,” said Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy.
“As we enter a critical phase in the qualification cycle for Tokyo 2020, the technology and expertise SAS bring will have a direct impact on the preparation of our athletes for major competition and provide us with valuable information as we plan for the future.”
“This is an exciting opportunity for the Sport Ireland Institute as we now seek to leverage SAS technology alongside skills and expertise from the corporate sector and apply these same principles to the elite sport environment,” added Liam Harbison, Director of the Sport Ireland Institute.
“It will enable us to potentially join dots that we didn’t even know existed in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
“We have already identified two projects which these solutions will be especially beneficial for, in boxing and swimming, and are excited to see what the results will yield. We will be using a targeted approach, where we apply the technology and thinking to those sports that have a track record of using performance related data. We hope this will help guide decision making for the remaining projects.”
“SAS has a track record globally of using analytics to drive improved performance in sport as well as business, and we are delighted to be announcing this partnership with the Sport Ireland Institute, said Scott Comber, Senior Director of Consulting and Professional Services, SAS UK & Ireland.
“We have worked for a number of years with British Rowing in the UK and last year signed an eight-year partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee.”
“What is exciting about this partnership is the opportunity to work in some new sports, such as boxing and swimming. While analytics will not provide a single answer to everything, what we do know is that it will help the Sport Ireland Institute make lots of smarter decisions based on insights from data.”
In time this may be looked back upon as a key moment in the development of Ireland’s high-performance sporting regimes. It could well yield a truly golden return for sport.