University Sports Awards celebrate the business of sport

University Sports Awards celebrate the business of sport

While the University of Newcastle’s annual sports awards shine a spotlight on the achievements of sporting’s best, this year’s awards paid particular attention to those who work in the business of sport.

It is estimated that Australians spend about 12% of their incomes on sport and leisure and more than seven million volunteer their time off the park, while in 2011 the Australia Bureau of Statistics found that just 1.5% of paid employment was in sports administration. These are facts that were not lost on some of the region’s sports administrators when they featured as part of a panel discussion at Newcastle City Hall in August as part of the university’s sport celebration.

The 2018 Sports Awards featured a panel discussion with some of the regions finest sportspeople, administrators and commentators, led by sports broadcaster and MC for the evening, Gerry Collins.

The panel featured CEO of the Newcastle Jets, Lawrie McKinna; sports commentator and sportsperson, Helene O’Neill; the face of Newcastle’s beaches and Surfest Coordinator, Warren Smith; water polo player and Olympic Bronze Medallist, Jane Moran; and CEO of NUsport, Chris Hicks.

Chris Hicks spoke of the immense diversity of roles that the university’s sport and recreation arm of NUsport fills for the thousands of students of the university.

“Our team of about 150 people exists to look after the interests of elite sportspeople by helping them manage their sporting and student lives right through to organising sporting competitions and providing opportunities for students, staff and the wider public to participate in sport and recreation at all levels,” Chris said.

Chris also spoke about the challenges faced by sporting bodies to continue to evolve while acknowledging that it must run like a business while still being relevant and accessible.

Panellist and successful businesswoman who was named Young Executive by BOSS magazine, Jane Moran knows all too well the similarities between success in business and success in sport, both requiring concentration, dedication, good use of time and determination. Jane highlighted the importance of self-presentation and promotion in the business of sport, with reference to her own experiences at the London Olympics.

Chris Hicks said that each of the panellists and Gerry Collins provided great insight into the business of sport and the role it needed to play in Australia now and into the future.

On the night, motorsport champion Kyle Middleton was named winner of the Sports Person of the Year by the University of Newcastle. The Sports Club of the Year was awarded to the Tennis Club for its attainment of high standards in sports administration and the Team of the Year was awarded to the Women’s Basketball team for its outstanding result in 2017.

For making an outstanding contribution to the administration and organisation of university sport, University Colours were awarded to Conrad Bond (rowing), James Richardson (cricket), Jason Buffier (rugby union) and Jordan Johnson (scuba diving).

Alanna Patison (rugby union), Matthew George (tennis), William Brown (athletics) and Guy Walters (athletics) joined more than 237 of Australia’s greatest athletes, academics and business people when they were awarded the prestigious University Blue for demonstrating outstanding sporting ability when representing the University of Newcastle.

The university and Friends of the University presented eight sport scholarships to students with demonstrated potential currently balancing their academic and sporting pursuits. Rugby Scholarships were presented to six people and the inaugural Col Whitehead Cricket Scholarship awarded to Colby Gallagher.

IMAGE | From left to right: Chris Hicks, Jane Moran, Warren Smith, Helene O’Neill and Lawrie McKinna.

The Forum

The University of Newcastle Sports Awards recognise exceptional sporting achievement and are managed and presented by Newcastle University Sport (NUsport), which manages the health and fitness facilities, The Forum University and The Forum Harbourside.

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