Barry Murphy SwimmingGrassroots Wednesday on Sport for Business

The crowd funding scene in Ireland becomes more crowded by the day, an indication of it’s appeal to athletes and clubs that need to look at innovation in how they raise money to pursue their plans and dreams.

This week Pledge Sports has announced the launch of a new funding platform, providing a funding and sponsorship platform for athletes, teams and clubs.

Crowd funding was responsible for raising over $5 Billion in 2013 and that number is expected to double over the next twelve months.

The Jamaican Bobsleigh team at the Winter Olympics are their because of the power to reach beyond normal sponsorship avenues.

The Irish Universities Athletics Championships were streamed live on AerTV last Friday because of money raised on another platform nTrai over the course of 48 hours.

Pledge Sports works by athletes, teams or clubs creating a campaign and sharing their story using video or pictures. Fans are encouraged to support through donations and in return can receive rewards such as being publicly thanked via social media, raffle tickets to win valuable items, signed merchandise, coaching and mentoring.

Pledge Sports also aims to encourage commercial entities into micro sponsorship, pledging a small amount and benefitting from promotion through social media, brand endorsement, photo calls and brand ambassadorship.

It would enable companies or organisations to make a little difference to a wider spread of athletes and will be interesting to see how this develops.

“We have a massive amount of sporting talent here in Ireland but this needs to be nurtured,” said Pledge Sports CEO Richard Pearson.

“Funding in sports is a massive problem beneath the very highest level.  Most of the money in sponsorship and competition prize money is concentrated on the worlds top ranked people. This leaves most professional athletes with a constant financial struggle to maintain training, get coaching and travelling to compete.”

Pledge Sports has gathered together an initial group of athletes that includes Barry Murphy, ranked six in the world in the 50M breaststroke in swimming, James Cluskey ranked in the worlds top 150 tennis players and looking to get to Wimbledon this summer, Camilla Speirs who represented Ireland at London 2012 in eventing and John Coughlan, the middle distance runner aiming to follow in the spike prints of his father Eamon.

There are others in Kayaking, boxing and MMA and you can see the kind of offers they have on the go through the video below or at

Interested in Crowd Funding?  Join us as a member and attend a Members’ round table on the subject on March 20th.