19 Flagship Sporting Events Receive Funding Under IPB Gathering Ireland Fund

19 Sporting events have been named in the list of 82 ‘Flagship Events’ that will receive funding under the €2m IPB Gathering Ireland Fund as announced by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring.

As highlighted in the Federation of Irish Sport’s Annual Review, sports tourism in Ireland is serious business. Not only does sport serve as a hook for bringing people to Ireland research by the British Tourism Authority would indicate that it attracts high spending tourists with their findings indicating that a “sports tourist” spends almost twice as much on average as the “ordinary tourist”

It was a sporting event, the Emerald Isle Classic, that was used as a platform to launch The Gathering  in 2012. The Aviva Stadium Match between Notre Dame and Navy attracted the 35,000 visitors from the US, the largest number of Americans to ever travel to a sporting fixture outside of the US including the Olympic Games.

American Football is however only one example of the power of sports tourism in Ireland. In 2012 over 30 international sporting events were held throughout Ireland, generating tourism revenue for the economy. Examples include the 2,284 bed nights created by the Great Limerick Run; the 155,000 overseas visitors who played golf in Ireland spending an estimated €204m; and the 1.15 million people who attended the Tall Ships events in Dublin Port.

Federation of Irish Sport Chief Executive, Sarah O’Connor, welcomed Thursday’s announcement and reiterated just how important sport is to Ireland’s Tourism Industry, “Tourism is integral to Ireland’s economy and Irish Sport wants to ensure that it can play a full contributing to the future growth of both foreign and domestic tourism in Ireland. Internationally, we know that sports tourism is one of the fastest growing niches in the overall global tourism trade whilst, sport is also a key contributor to domestic tourism. In Canada 38% of their domestic tourism is directly attributed to travel associated with sport.

Irish Sport has a strong track record in the hosting of sports events and it is unsurprising that sport is playing a key role in the Gathering. Indeed, we would hope that the contribution of sport to this year’s initiative might serve as a springboard to the development of a dedicated agency to bid for sports events which would ensure that sport and government were working in tandem to secure a steady stream of sports events into Ireland with all the ancillary benefits that this would provide in particular, the welcome dividend to our tourism industry.”

Speaking at the launch, Minister Ring said, “Our marketing efforts have moved up a level to promote the Gathering 2013, and have received a further boost with Ireland’s inclusion in Fodor’s Travel ‘Go List’ of top destinations to visit in 2013. USA Today has included The Gathering Ireland 2013 in its five ‘buzz-worthy destinations for 2013’, while Rick Steve’s’ has included a hurling match as one of the ‘8 magical experiences in Europe’.”

A total of 1322 of the 2,600 registered Gatherings to date will receive funding under the IPB Gathering Ireland Fund which was administered by the City and County Councils based on agreed application criteria.

The Gathering 2013 Flagship Sporting Events:

County Event
Carlow The World Under 21 Snooker Championship
Cork SpoirtFest World Mini Games
Donegal The Gallagher International Summer School
Dublin City Dublin City Marathon
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Leopardstown Christmas Festival
South Dublin European Balckball Pool Nations Cup 2013
Fingal 2013 J24 World Championships Sailing Event
Galway County The Aer Lingus Festival of Hurling
Galway City Galway Cup
Kildare Punchestown Festival 2013
Limerick City & County Gathering Race Meeting & Concert
Monaghan Autumn Angling Festival
Monaghan European Schoolboys Boxing Championship 2013
Monaghan European Powerlifting Championships
South Tipperary Tipperary GAA Gathering Project
North Tipperary Mirror World Sailing Championships
North Tipperary Thurles Sarsfield International Event
Waterford City & County The Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford
Westmeath The Pan European Championships GAA

Number of Gatherings under the Community Fund per local authority

IPB Flagship Events per Local Authority