These days, the study of soft power and public diplomacy is relatively advanced. The present article complements this growing body of work by focusing on the relationship between two institutions that are generally geared toward minimizing friction in international affairs: sport and diplomacy. Over the past five years, the study of “sports diplomacy” has grown but the same cannot be said about scholarship assessing its practice, that is, how theory is reconciled in practice. This is a gap this research seeks to overcome. It describes and critiques the efforts, challenges, and vicissitudes Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade faced when building and implementing the world's first Sports Diplomacy Strategy in 2015. The study finds that with appropriate ministerial support and innovative diplomats, both the theory and practice of sports diplomacy have a bright, promising future. Such analysis is useful because it encourages greater dialog between the ivory towers and the beltway of diplomacy.