In a few months time, the Olympics will be over and Irish sports fans will be celebrating the success of our athletes or alas in some cases left wondering why we did not collect more, gold,silver or even bronze.
This year’s Irish Sports Council grants ‘protected’ the grants of many of the top stars but only for one more year. So the stars themselves will be looking for more ways of finding sponsorship for 2013 and beyond.
Above all though sports organisations and clubs are already pondering how they can attract more fans, gain greater publicity, attract bigger crowds to their venue as a time when money is scarce, very scarce.
Here we have a nonprofit, volunteer led group who are totally reliant on the goodwill of the sporting community to drive the Summit. It promises to be a great summit with top class speakers and no doubt a considerable number of ideas and suggestions as to what clubs, organisations and even individuals can do to help not only themselves but the wider community in these difficult days.
The ‘brains’ behind the summit are Chairman James O’Reilly aided and abetted by other Committee members - all themselves members of the local Ballincollig Junior B football club. In a recent ‘Examiner’ interview O’Reilly explained how the idea developed – and changed en route. Following the success of last year’s sports festival in the region – one that encompassed many sports from American Football to Softball and attracted large crowds – they wanted to do something different in 2012. A year in which sports organisers, face great challenges from Euro 2012 and the Olympics,so they put ‘their thinking caps’ on and played around with a number of ideas. What if they organised a sports summit, with top speakers involved, that would offer answers to the financial challenges facing sporting bodies?
Now that has come to pass and the Irish Sports Summit takes place in the Oriel House Hotel on May 25, with a highly impressive : economist Jim Power, Sarah O’Connor, Executive Director of the Federation of Irish Sports, Liam Harbison, CEO Paralympics Ireland, Jim Glennon, Noel Meade… the list goes on.
As O’Reilly explained : “ ”When you’re trying to bring in so many different areas and so many different concerns it’s going to have to be broad enough by its nature in order to have something for everybody. But the way we’re planning it is to focus on the problems in the morning sessions, and hopefully someone in the room, when they hear about a particular problem, will say, ‘well, we had that problem and this is what we did’ or touch base with the people now dealing with that problem.
“The broad aim is to increase positivity, to show that there are people who can share their vision of what’s possible and to tell people not to limit themselves, but alongside with the afternoon session, we’ll have a parallel session focusing on small organisations versus the international picture for bigger organisations.”