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Munster Rugby CEO’s honoured for contribution to business of sport

Wednesday, 17th April, 2019 4:13pm

As Munster Rugby head into another Champions Cup semi-final this weekend against the mighty Saracens, their long-standing chief executive was honoured this week at the Irish Sports Industry Awards for his outstanding contribution to Irish sport over the course of his career.

Hosted by the Federation of Irish Sport, the awards recognise excellence in the Irish sports industry, while highlighting its contribution to the Irish economy. It was one of 14 awards presented on Monday night.

Garrett Fitzgerald was appointed CEO of Munster Rugby in 1999 and is the longest serving provincial CEO in Irish rugby. During this time, Fitzgerald has overseen the growth of the Munster brand in Ireland and overseas, and the redevelopment of Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park. He also played a central role in developing Munster Rugby’s new high-performance centre at University of Limerick.

Fitzgerald has led the organisation through very successful years on the pitch. He has also negotiated some of the biggest sports sponsorship contracts in Irish sport. In 2017, Munster Rugby recorded annual revenues of €16.9 million and saw 250,000 supporters pass through its turnstiles.

The Irish Sports Industry Awards are hosted annually by the Federation of Irish Sport. Other award categories include Best Sporting Event, Best Sports Business, Best Sports Innovation, Best Sports Media Outlet, Best 20x20 initiative and the Jimmy Magee Sports Journalist of the Year Award.

Sports industry in Ireland

According to the Federation of Irish Sport, the sports industry in Ireland supports 40,000 jobs, stimulates €1.9 billion in household spending and generates €1 billion in tourism receipts each year.

The Irish Sport Industry Awards are intended to recognise and reward excellence in the sporting industry, while highlighting the contribution sport makes to the Irish economy, both directly and indirectly.

The Federation of Irish Sport organises and hosts the awards on an annual basis. The Federation is the representative body for 102 sporting organisations. It works on behalf of its members to create a greater awareness of the importance of sport across a wide number of areas including business, tourism, health, community, diversity and the economy.

Speaking ahead of the awards, Federation of Irish Sport CEO Mary O’Connor, said: “Sport is a key pillar of the Irish economy and Irish society. It is worth €2.4 billion to the Irish Exchequer and supports more than 40,000 full time jobs. The Irish Sports Industry Awards were established to highlight the impact sport has on the Irish economy.

“Irish sport is in rude health right now. The corporate community invested €140 million in sports sponsorship in 2018 and the Irish Government has recently pledged to double its investment in sport from €111 million annually to €222 million annually over the next ten years. It is important this investment is delivered upon, as it will in turn help improve sporting infrastructures and grow participation rates, which will in turn create further opportunities for corporate investment, sponsorship and collaboration,” she said.

“Finally, we are delighted to honour Munster Rugby’s Garrett Fitzgerald with the Federation of Irish Sport’s Outstanding Contribution award. In his time as CEO of Munster Rugby, he has transformed the organisation from a newly professionalised representative team into one of the most successful, recognisable and best supported professional rugby franchises in Europe. The success of Munster Rugby on and off the pitch has proven a key catalyst in the recent success of Irish rugby at all levels and set a new benchmark for professionalism and innovation in Irish sport.”

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