Cork Company of the Year Awards: Pundit Arena gives sports fans a platform to become writers

For any sports lover, chances are the dream job would be to write about your passion if you couldn’t play it professionally — one Cork company is giving hundreds of would-be journalists the chance to do just that.

Ross O'Dwyer and Richard Barrett, co-founders, PunditArena.com, which was named Bank of Ireland/ IGNITE Business of the Year in 2014

Pundit Arena has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, providing an outlet for fans of all sports to get into the business of writing and analysing the glorious games that they love.

Football, GAA, rugby, mixed martial arts, boxing, golf, you name it — Pundit Arena is giving hundreds of writers the chance to pick up the proverbial ball and run with it.

Pundit Arena is one of Europe’s fastest growing sports media websites, reaching millions of users. The concept is simple yet incredibly powerful. Pundit Arena is a sports media platform that empowers fans to become paid journalists.

It was founded by Richard Barrett and Ross O’Dwyer, both University College Cork graduates, in late 2013 from UCC’s Ignite Programme. It now has 14 staff. Significantly, both men want it to stay in Cork as it grows.

Mr Barrett says: “We take the articulate and passionate knowledge of fans and enable them to publish their work on our platform, reach an audience of millions, and also earn money for their work.

"Pundit Arena currently has 460-plus writers, publishes 1,000 articles per month, and reaches eight million people per week on social media. We are changing sports media.”

One look at the Pundit Arena website as a sports fan, and there’s a good chance you could be cancelling any other plans for the rest of the day. There is so much variety that a user could sit, scroll, and read voraciously for hours.

There’s also a chance that the reader thinks he or she could write as well if not better than those published on Pundit Arena, meaning the Become A Pundit section on the website has a special allure.

To be recognised by Cork Chamber has been special for its founders.

Mr Barrett said: “I am absolutely thrilled that Pundit Arena have been selected as a finalist in the emerging category of the Cork Company of the Year Awards.

"As a company that was founded by two UCC graduates, on UCC’s Ignite Programme, and now has offices in Cork City, it means a lot to be recognised by our peers in the real capital.

"It’s been an amazing journey for us thus far and cork has played a major role in our success.”

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