Women in Sport 2017 – Dee Forbes

Sport for Business, in partnership with Liberty Insurance, has begun the publication of our annual list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Irish Sport.

This is not about Women’s sport, it is about the influence that women are wielding across all sport.  We will identify leaders on and off the field of play.  They will include those who are role models in terms of their abilities on and off the field of play.  They will come from teams and individual sports, from sponsorship partners, from the media, from the administrative corridors of power and from places where influence may be subtle but no less powerful.

Dee Forbes

In an era of sport where broadcast rights command fees previously un heard of, and from broadcast giants across new media that did not exist ten years ago, the impact of the media on how sport is funded, consumed and imagined is second to none.

Dee Forbes became Director general of RTÉ in 2016 and has embarked on the most comprehensive review of what the broadcaster is, how it sees itself as part of Irish society and how we see it.

Sport is part of that review.  Some of the old certainties are breaking down.  TV3 won the right to broadcast the last Rugby World Cup, eir Sport has the rights to the 2019 edition.  TV3 has also won away the rights to broadcast the Six Nations from next season, and in partnership with a new deal for British horse racing, was the channel through which the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree grand National were seen in Ireland in recent weeks.

But RTÉ is still the network that delivers the most eyeballs and the sharpest cut through.  Its combination of TV, Radio and online is attuned already to the different ways that new audiences are consuming content.

RTÉ’s wresting back exclusive radio rights and a long term package of TV and digital rights with the GAA for the next five years is underpinned by the ongoing partnership in terms of OTT streaming of games to overseas territories through the ground breaking GAAGo.

Dee Forbes knows and understand the importance of sport.  She was a senior executive in Discovery when they signed a €1.3 Billion deal to bring Olympics coverage away from the European Broadcasting Union.  She is a passionate fan of Munster Rugby and has been involved on the commercial board for that organisation.

Sport through individuals like Ryle Nugent and Cliona O’Leary will need to ‘Stand up and Fight’ to make sure of its importance within the new future that Forbes is creating at RTÉ.  But if it does it will be given a fair hearing.

Mary Davis, Special Olympics

Sonia O’Sullivan, Olympian

Sinead Galvin, Galvin Sports Management

Evanne Ní Chuillin, Joanne Cantwell and Jacqui Hurley, RTÉ

Louise Kidd, AIG Insurance

Ellen Keane, Paralympian

Siobhan Earley, Gaelic Players Association

Maeve Buckley, Line Up Sports

Suzanne Eade, Horse Racing Ireland

Sinead Heraty, Irish Ladies Golf Union

Sinead Kissane, Journalist at TV3

Irene Gowing and Sorcha Fennell Sheehan, Bord Gais Energy

Jo Donnellan, Sponsorship Manager at Heineken

Elaine Carey, Chief Commercial Officer Three Ireland

Sarah O’Connor, Head of Sport at Wilson Hartnell

Georgina Drumm, President at Athletics Ireland

Sue Ronan, Head of Women’s Football at FAI

Fiona Hampton, Head of Sales and Marketing at Ulster Rugby

Karen Campion, Head of Business Partnerships at FAI

Miriam Malone, CEO at Paralympics Ireland

Cliona Foley, Journalist

Cliona O’Leary, Head of TV Sport at RTÉ

Edel McCarthy, Sponsorship Manager Electric Ireland

Lisa Browne, Head of Marketing Electric Ireland

Sarah O’Shea, Honorary General Secretary at Olympic Council of Ireland

Helen O’Rourke, CEO at Ladies Gaelic Football Association

Kelli O’Keefe, Teneo PSG

Jennifer Gleeson, Sponsorship Manager at Diageo

Mary O’Connor, CEO Federation of Irish Sport

Carol McMahon, Ulster Bank

Deirdre Ashe, Liberty Insurance

Sian Gray, Head of Marketing at Lidl

Roisin Glynn, Social media Manager at AIB

Michelle Tanner, Head of Sport at Trinity College

Gemma Bell, Sponsorship Manager at Bank of Ireland

Tracey Kennedy, Chair Cork County GAA Board

Katie Taylor, World Champion Boxer

Joy Neville, Referee

Niamh O’Donoghue, FAI Board Member

Joan O’Flynn, CEO Camogie Association

Lindsay Peat, Rugby Player

Annalise Murphy, Olympian Sailor

Dee Forbes, Director General at RTÉ

Emma Byrne, Footballer 

Fiona Coghlan, Grand Slam Rugby Winning Captain

Dr Una May, Head of Participation at Sport Ireland

Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone

Cora Staunton, Ladies Gaelic Footballer

Sarah Keane, President Olympic Council of Ireland

Jessica Harrington, racehorse trainer and Irish Times Sportswoman of 2017

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