Government Announces a More Strategic Sports Policy

2into3 welcome yesterday’s publication of the National Sports Policy by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. A policy ten years in the making, the government has now outlined 57 action areas which touch on most aspects of Irish life. Most importantly, the government has committed to investing €220 million in sport, almost double the spending for 2018. Investment to High Performance will triple to €30 million with a commitment to a multi-year funding cycle from 2019. This milestone was a long time coming and follows in the footsteps of our counterparts in New Zealand and Denmark.

According to Onside, sponsorship spending rose by 12% in the first half of 2018, with sport continuing to dominate sponsorship deals. Huge strides have been taken in sponsorship deals, Aviva’s five-year extensions of the Aviva Stadium Sponsorship, Energia’s deal with Leinster Rugby and Donnybrook Stadium, and Softco’s deal with hockey to name a few. However, the potential of sport to unlock funding supports through philanthropy remains largely untapped. 2into3 welcomes details within the policy that outline a review and possible expansion of the tax code to encourage incentives to donors to give to sport. Recently, Irish Sailing applied for planning permission for a new High Performance HQ in Dun Laoghaire, which will be entirely funded through philanthropic support. This highlights the potential to use philanthropy to provide new opportunities and support for sport.

As outlined in the National Sports Policy, good governance is crucially important for the effective and efficient running of sport. It provides assurance to different stakeholders that sport is in safe hands. The decision to bring sport closer to the charity sector, through the governance code, is a welcome one. 2into3 hope that this can lead to more collaboration between stakeholders in the not-for-profit sector and sport. Stronger governance, through the Charities Regulator, will be a more secured platform when reaching out to stakeholders, donors and making a case for support.

In particular, 2into3 welcome the commitment to make the Sports Capital Programme an annual initiative. The 2017 Sports Capital Programme was a massive success, with over €58 million allocated to local projects and over €4 million for regional projects. A commitment to annual funding will ensure that local sporting infrastructures and improved and maintained, giving more opportunities for people to partake in sporting activities.

In preparation of the 2018 round of the Sports Capital Programme, 2into3 will be hitting the road with Sports for Business with four workshops taking place in Dublin, Cork and Athlone between the 13-16 of August.

For more information on 2into3 and the services it provides in sport, please contact 2into3 Analyst Darren McMahon on 01 234 3127 or email