Dr David O'Byrne

BA, MSc, PhD

Pronouns: He/him
  • University Teacher in Sport Management

Research groups and centres

David is a University Teacher in Sport Management. He commenced this role in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) after returning to Loughborough in April 2023. Previously, David was a Lecturer in Sport Marketing at UCFB’s Wembley Campus and he taught in the areas of sport, culture, and society at Nottingham Trent University’s School of Science & Technology.

David holds a BA (Business, Economic, and Social Studies) from Trinity College Dublin, and an MSc and PhD from Loughborough University. Beyond his academic credentials, David held various senior marketing positions whilst working for globally renowned firms and agencies, in New York and Amsterdam, over a period of nine years - before opting to return to academia.

David is responsible for lecturing across a variety of Sport Management and Sport Marketing modules as well as contributing to Sport and International Development.

David’s research interests fall broadly into three areas: sport and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, the use of sport for development and peace (SDP), and innovative qualitative research methodologies in sport studies. He is a social scientist whose work is largely informed by theories and concepts derived from sport management and sociology, but he proactively engages with researchers, practitioners, and ideas across a plethora of disciplines (including pedagogy, sport coaching, human geography, and development studies).

David has specialist knowledge in qualitative research having utilised a range of ethnographic, interview, visual, and photo-elicitation methods. His research also embraces innovative research philosophies, including the strengths and hope (S&H) perspective, so as to confront the dominance of deficit perspective in contemporary social science research. 

David’s external activities include a diverse array of public engagements in the form of working groups, associate memberships, advisory roles, and commissioned research. These include:

  • Academic contributor to FC Barcelona’s Innovation Hub – with a focus on knowledge and innovations in sport management and marketing (2021-Present).
  • Associate of the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) Network – including representing them at international football matches (2016-present).
  • Member of the Collaboration for Sport Integrity (CSI) Working Group (2018-2021). Assisted in running two ESRC Festival of Social Sciences events focused on ‘Young People’s Perceptions of Sport Integrity’. Collaborators included the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), UNICEF, and the Commonwealth Secretariat. 
  • Advisory Member for Ishami Foundation (A charity using sport to build equality, tolerance and peace in Rwanda and the UK) (2017-2020).
  • Academic advisor to UNICEF and Barca Foundation (FC Barcelona) as a member of the Sport for Development for Children Working Group (2019-2020).
  • Assisted in running a two-day workshop for practitioners and stakeholders in the Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) sector. The workshop, entitled “Sport for Development and Peace: Building Partnerships”, was hosted at Loughborough University and brought together academics, policy makers, and practitioners from around the world (2018).
  • Member of the British Sociological Association and its Sport Study Group (2018-present).
  • Member of the International Sociology of Sport Association (ISSA) (2018-present).
  • Commissioned to produce the report entitled “Sport for Social Integration: The Opportunity for London”. The report was for the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the office of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. This work helped shape the GLA’s understanding of the key elements of successful sport for social integration initiatives and it informed the GLA’s investments in “Sport Unites”. David worked in partnership with Loughborough London and “thinkBeyond”, the consultancy arm of Beyond Sport, on this project (2017).

Featured publications

  • O’Byrne, D. (2021). Thinking, Doing, and Creating Together: Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) and the Decoloniality of Knowledge, Power and Being. PhD Thesis, Loughborough University.
  • O’Byrne, D. (2019). Inverting the Pyramid: Decoloniality and Knowledge Production in Grassroots Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) Activism. Proceedings from the 16th European Association for Sociology of Sport Conference: Sports and the Environment, Bø, Norway.
  • O’Byrne, D. (2018). Exploring Global Flows of Knowledge through Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) Activists and Activities. Proceedings from the 15th European Association for Sociology of Sport Conference. Sport, Discriminations and Inclusion: Challenges to Face, Bordeaux, France.
  • O’Byrne, D. (2018). Exploring the intersection of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the use of Sport for Development and Peace (SDP). British Sociological Association Sport Study Group: Sporting Identities, Careers and Opportunities, Durham, UK.
  • O’Byrne, D., & Skinner, J. (2017). Sport for Social Integration: The Opportunity for London. A report commissioned by the Greater London Authority.
  • O’Byrne, D. (2015). The Intersection of Corporate Social Responsibility, Sport for Development and Peace, and Our Contemporary Neoliberalist Regime of Truth. MSc Dissertation, Loughborough University.

In Press:

‘Seeing Behind the Curtain’: Conformity and Transgression in the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) of Social Interventions Using Sport. Chapter in edited book (Routledge) on ‘Global South Voice in SfD’ (to be published in 3Q 2023).