Investing In Major Sporting Events 2020
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Since 2015 Why Sports have worked with extensively with key partners to develop a unique series of conferences aimed at dissecting and disseminating key policy related to tackling inactivity, reducing socio-economic barriers and improving population health. Within the series of Why Sports conferences we have a focus on investment and the finance attributed to sport and leisure.

Our 2020 Investing in Major Sporting Events conference will be hosted in the West Midlands. The conference with centre on design, legacy and how the country aims to improve socio-economic developments across our regions.

The UK Government remains committed to hosting world-class sporting events in the UK and will continue to strive to break boundaries in order to be recognised as the leader of an increasingly competitive international field. For this reason, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and UK Sport have extended the Gold Event Series Programme to include all major sporting events receiving financial or technical support at a UK level – from UK Sport or DCMS.

Created in 2015, the Gold Framework sets out how DCMS and UK Sport work jointly to support the bidding for and staging of major sporting events at a UK-level.

The framework is aimed at major sporting events not resident in the UK and typically involving a competitive bidding process. The framework determines which events could be supported at a UK-level and what resources and investment are available to help secure and stage these events.

Sport is estimated to be worth over £35 billion a year to the UK’s economy. Major sporting events play a significant role in delivering continued growth across many of our key sectors.

Over 90 major international sporting events have been secured for the UK following London 2012, including 37 World and European Championship and the 2022 Commonwealth Games; all of which will inspire the nation and generate a substantial economic impact.

UK Sport’s investment of over £40m of Lottery funding until 2023 will continue to help the UK secure a portfolio of prestigious international events in identified sports. As outlined in Sporting Future - A New Strategy for an Active Nation, there are five key outcomes which now sit at the core of all UK government investment into sport and physical activity; Physical Wellbeing, Mental Wellbeing, Individual Development, Social and Community Development and Economic Development. Attainment of these outcomes should drive all future funding into sport and physical activity and should be at the forefront of any legacy planning.

Getting more people active, more regularly is one of the top priorities of the UK government. Regular physical activity can improve health and wellbeing and play a key role in preventing heart disease, reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30-40% and having a positive effect on mental wellbeing by reducing stress and anxiety and increasing confidence and self-esteem. Physical inactivity costs the UK an estimated £8 billion each year.

Local Authorities are critical partners in funding and delivering a portfolio of world-class sporting events across the UK. Last years conference highlighted that the UK has a diverse geographical spread of world-class facilities for hosting top-level sports, and the nation has seen much-increased enthusiasm for hosting events in every region. Birmingham's 2020 Commonwealth Games, Netball World Cup, Road World Championships are just some of the amazing events taking place across the regions, each of which aims to provide legacy opportunities for all.

Many Local Authorities will have their major event strategies, and in some cases, they may take the lead in initiating the identification of a major event as a hosting target. Local Authorities seeking UK-level support of such events need to engage with DCMS and UK Sport at an early stage to consider feasibility. A robust legacy plan can become an important factor in winning a major sporting event bid.

A good participation programme should be clear about what it wants to achieve and identify these objectives through engagement with the local communities during the build-up to, and throughout the event. It will need to ensure the type and format of activities provided and the supporting workforce, understand the needs of the target audience. This will include ensuring that there is a flexible approach to those people who are not regularly active. It will also need to ensure that existing sporting structures are ready to welcome new participants. Such programmes need not be costly to run, and where appropriate, the programme can incorporate and enhance existing national governing body or local authority led projects.

Accessibility and inclusion should be considered throughout the planning and delivery of a participation programme, ensuring the benefits of sport reach the widest possible audience, especially those from underrepresented groups.

Major sporting events can help build stronger communities by bringing people together, often from different backgrounds, to make them feel better about where they live, improve community links and build social capital. This critically timed conference will seek to provide greater clarity on numerous topics related to investment principles, feasibility, bid developments, event delivery and most importantly creating a true legacy opportunity for all.  

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