SPORT AND BUSINESS: Does it really help?

July 4, 2011

Sport and its parallels with business is a well-trodden path. Many a time a sporting hero is put in front of a business community to say with a bit of extra practice here or a change of diet there, followed by a good old ‘Where’s your ****** pride!” moment from the captain and we can all be world beaters in our chosen fields. And the bit of glamour and feel good vibe that being in the same room as a sporting god generates, bolsters any of us with a sporting inclination.

At our Ignition5 last week (27th June), Aoife presented the Action for Happiness project from the UK ( and there are other examples like the random acts of kindness where a collection of small positive acts collectively make for a greater good. This is where sport can really come to the fore. From teaching our children how to work and play with others, to the individual joy of successfully completing a simple sporting task, be it a pass or a tackle, a block or scoring a goal. And indeed as supporters, witnessing any of the above can bring equal pleasure to the fans on the sidelines. Random acts of sporting achievements certainly have a direct relationship to the happiness of those emotionally invested in the sport. This effect gets amplified on a national level when the random acts of achievement, are delivered by our men and women, playing at the highest levels. Rory Mcllroy’s recent exploits are the most recent in an amazing list of achieving from Irish sports men and women, all the more welcome as an escape from the recession stress elsewhere.

Harry Eyres recently wrote about one of his obsessions: tennis. I enjoyed his description on why some matches between certain players were more enjoyable than others, fundamentally because he sees tennis as a dialogue where the interaction between two players makes for the enriched experience: “Tennis, like reality more generally, is relational. Some relationships and conversations are easier or more pleasant than others. Or, to put it another way, we are naturally drawn into relationships and conversations with some people rather than others.”

All very interesting, but what parallels are there between sport about communicating today? To me a few things: Firstly at it’s best, it’s inspirational (another plug for Ignition 5), secondly doing the simple things right can bring a joy/enhanced experience/ meaningful connection to our audience and thirdly, and most relevantly in our social media world, listening and reacting to our conversations is what can separate the wheat from the chaff.

Put it all together and I’ll show you some pride! Come on Rory!




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