Thursday 22 March 2018

Big names team up for sports awards

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Models preview some of the Irish Fashion and textile designs which will be featured at
Showcase 2018. Photo:Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Models preview some of the Irish Fashion and textile designs which will be featured at Showcase 2018. Photo:Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Michael Cullen

Ireland's 12 biggest participation events have an economic impact of €46m annually and generate 91,000 bed nights. One in five tourists take part in sports tourism in some shape or form and its value is worth between €350m and €800m to the economy.

Some €255m is spent on club membership each year and an extra €200m goes on fans buying jerseys and memorabilia. Over 40,000 jobs are supported by Irish sport with tourism among the major benefactors. The stats were announced at the 2018 Sport Industry Awards run in association with JLT Ireland. They were launched by Dublin GAA footballer and current Federation of Irish Sport (FIS) president Bernard Brogan, Mary O'Connor, CEO, FIS and Donegal GAA footballer Michael Murphy.

The federation is the representative body for Ireland's National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) and Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs). The awards recognise and reward excellence in the business of sport, while highlighting the contribution of sport nationally. This year's awards will be presented in the Dublin City Hall on February 22.

The winners will be selected by a judging panel drawn from business and sports, including Cliona O'Leary, RTÉ Sport, athlete Louise Galvin, Rory Sheridan, sponsorship manager, Diageo, Mark Doyle, AIB and Liam Harbison, Sport Ireland Institute. The 12 award categories include sport business of the year, sports event of the year, best commercial partnership and local sports partnership of the year, best sports journalist and top sports media outlet.

There are also gongs for the best digital engagement, sporting innovation and a lifetime achievement or an outstanding individual contribution. Last year's winners include Lidl for the Women's Gaelic Football, the Paralympics, Cork Local Sport Partnership, SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon and Race Series, Aer Lingus and Allianz. The closing date for entries is Monday week, February 5.

* As one of the country's biggest international trade shows, Showcase sees over 5,000 fashionwear, jewellery, home and giftware buyers from Ireland and 20 countries worldwide show up at the RDS. An estimated €20m in sales orders were made over the trade show's four days. Around 450 Irish designers, manufacturers and craft-makers exhibit at Showcase, which often acts as an international launch pad.

Enterprise Ireland promotes the fashion brands through their network of 30 overseas offices. This year saw the Made/Slow theme take centre stage, with products designed to hang around wardrobes, rather than being cast aside. Brands on show included Avoca, Aran Woollen Mills, Elaine Madigan, Fisherman Out of Ireland and Ros Duke.

* The death of Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan brought back memories of Tourism Ireland's 'Discover a Different Life' TV ad created by OwensDDB in 1999. The ad, which features the Cranberries track 'Dream', includes some breathtaking scenes and poses a series of questions with the introductory line "Before you plan a holiday, ask yourself..."

Like, "Where does laughter come from?" and "Will you live like a king when you stay in a castle?" Tourism Ireland's head of strategy development Peter Nash said that last year they got Kantar Millward Brown to include the ad in a test reel of their own and competitor tourist board commercials and, two decades on, the ad scored highly on all key metrics.

* On the ad agency new business front, Publicis has added Virgin Media and Davy. Virgin Media, owned by Liberty Global, was previously handled by BBDO. TV3 will be rebranded this year using the Virgin name. Publicis and branding agency Dynamo rolled out a rebrand for Today FM last year. Other Publicis clients include Bord Gáis Energy, Nestlé, Renault, Visa, Permanent TSB, Vhi Healthcare, Iarnród Éireann, Spar, Kerrygold and Tayto.

* Nike has launched a new product which allows Muslim women to play sports in a hijab. The Nike Pro Hijab was developed with help from United Arab Emirates weightlifter Amna Al Haddad. The Pro is made with light breathable fabric to control perspiration. Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who had a Barbie doll created in her likeness, also endorses the Pro.

* RTÉ Lyric fm has a new series of print ads with the sign-off line 'Where Life Sounds Better'. While yours truly is a fan of the classical music station - particularly Marty Whelan's and George Hamilton's morning shows - the ad's use of violet, Pantone's colour choice for 2018 - seems a little odd. When it comes to purple, TV3 has Ireland's broadcast market cornered.

* As we do all we can to cope with mid-winter blues, it's great to see the Coke Zero Sugar TV ad getting another run. Nicolas Coster stars as retirement home resident Mr Hadley, who suddenly feels the urge for some excitement in life after sipping the soft drink. The use of Queen's 'I Want To Break Free' adds extra fizz.

  • Michael Cullen is editor of;

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