Sport2Sport is an alliance of experience and achievement, passionate about building sporting organisations and brands.
Sport has been fundamentally impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic. Revenue sources have seen significant downward valuations and sports have been disconnected from their fans and partners. Sports organisations need to adapt and innovate.
Demand will return in time, but the distribution and landscape for sports will be different and available supports limited.
Sport will have to do more for less, to adopt new practices and ideas in a very short timeframe.
We have created a consultancy to help sports organisations, event owners and brands to visualise what recovery of the sports industry might look like post the Covid 19 crisis.
John Feehan is the former CEO of three incredible rugby properties including the Six Nations (2002-18), The British & Irish Lions (2002-18) and the PRO12/14 (2011-15). As such John has extensive successful experience as a leading executive in International rugby, as well as in the elite professional domestic rugby arena.
Throughout his career he has overseen huge growth in the finances, operational excellence, fan engagement, and the overall development of these huge rugby brands. John has led the Six Nations to be the biggest annual rugby Championship in the world, with television audiences only just behind the Rugby World Cup. With the British & Irish Lions John has skilfully guided four tours for the Lions from the 2005 to 2017 ensuring the brand has never been more successful in almost every metric. In 2011 John took on a struggling Magners League, as it was then, and completely rebranded, revamped and reshaped the PRO12 (as it was then called, now the PRO14) to be a very successful domestic league for the professional elite clubs in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy.
Since stepping down as the CEO of these properties John has been appointed as non-executive Chairman of Prime Active Capital plc (PAC). PAC is primarily based on products that align with health and well-being. John is also Chairman of the specialist sports travel business, Irish Rugby Tours (IRT). IRT specialise in three areas of sports travel, the elite game, fan travel, and the community game covering clubs, schools and colleges. This is one of the largest Irish sports tour organisers successfully operating in Ireland and abroad for over 20 years. Previously John had also set up, and was executive chairman of, Lions Rugby Travel which is a joint venture company between the British & Irish Lions and the Mike Burton Group which ran the entire British & Irish Lions Tour Travel programme.
John has also been involved as a business mentor in the fantastic charity, Social Enterprise Ireland (SEI), that tries to assist other charities to properly administer, fund, and grow their propositions. John was educated at CBC Monkstown and subsequently in the College of Marketing and Design, and Trinity College Dublin. He has played as a tight-head prop for various teams including Trinity College, Old Belvedere, Old Wesley, the Irish U21’s, Irish Universities, and the senior Leinster team. John is married and has two adult daughters and lives in Dublin.
Sport has played a major part in Derek’s career, having played rugby for Ireland in the pre-professional era and later became involved in the running of the professional game as CEO of ERC the organisers of the Heineken Cup which over the period of his involvement became a success story for rugby and professional sport. During his tenure the development of an ambitious strategic direction for the properties provided a clear direction for a multi-cultural family of stakeholders. This vison enabled revenues for TV and Sponsorship rights to multiply which were distributed to all the participating stakeholders.
The Curragh Racecourse is regarded as the headquarters for Irish Racing and is host to all the Classic races which show-case the best of Irish Flat racing. The Curragh formed a new company in 2015 and undertook a complete redevelopment of it’s facilities and Training Grounds supported by private and public funding to produce a truly world-class sporting and events facility. Derek was appointed as the first CEO of the new venture – a structure that was an innovation of it’s own which brought governing body, regulator and private industry interests from the sport into a shared funding of the project. The redevelopment took 3-years, and during this time had the added challenge that demolition and construction took place alongside an all-year round training facility and the changing venue also hosted the staging of 55 race meetings during the redevelopment. In addition to overseeing such a sizeable project, Derek also conducted a transformation of the business to prepare for the opening of the new venue which would provide services and an experience new to visitors to the Curragh.
Derek qualified as a Veterinary Surgeon in University College Dublin and worked both in Ireland and the UK before joining Rhone Poulenc Animal Health (later known as Merial Animal Health) where he held positions in technical services and marketing, before taking up the post of Country Manager for the Merial business in Ireland.
Volunteer work included chairman of a school management board, president of Irish University Rugby Union, and a director at Basketball Ireland. Derek also acts as a visiting fellow with the World Academy of Sport.
Partner Bird & Bird
Jonathan Taylor QC is co-head of Bird & Bird's International Sports Group. He is one of the world’s leading sports lawyers, advising governing bodies and rights-holders, event organisers and commercial partners nationally and internationally on cutting-edge commercial, regulatory, and contentious issues across all major sports. He was the chair of WADA's independent Compliance Review Committee from 2016-2020 and of the IBU External Review Commission (2018-2020), and also conducted both the Governance Review and the Bury FC Review for the English Football League in 2019. He appears regularly as an advocate before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and other sports tribunals. He is co-editor of the leading treatise on sports law, Lewis and Taylor, Sport: Law & Practice (Bloomsbury, 4th Edn, 2020).
Managing Director Heneghan Strategic Communications
Nigel Heneghan is managing director of Heneghan where he provides strategic communications counsel to a number of leading national and international clients. He is widely recognised within business circles, as one of the country’s foremost corporate communications advisers. He specialises in strategic corporate communications, financial public relations and crisis management. Before joining the agency in 1990 as a founder director, he worked in London and the Middle East. Nigel is a former president of The Public Relations Institute of Ireland and a former Chairman of the Public Relations Consultants Association. He is a Government-appointed member of the Compliance Committee of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. He is a Government-appointed Member of the Company of Social Innovation Growth Fund Ireland, which provides cash grants and business supports to social innovations. He serves on the Board of Community Creations CLG, which operates SpunOut.ie and Crisis Text Line.