Unleashing the potential of the sporting economy

Wednesday 9th May - 15:00-15:40

Sport has long been recognised for the cultural and social benefits it brings to the country, but it’s increasingly apparent that a strong and vibrant sports economy also makes a vital contribution to our overall economy.

Indeed, sport and physical activity is already worth billions to the UK, with around a million people employed in the sector and a significant contribution made to the UK in terms of tax and development, both at a national and a local level.

A strong sports economy benefits both sport and society more widely – yet the sport and physical activity sector has not traditionally been supported in the same way as other parts of the economy.

What more can be done to ensure prosperity, opportunity and employment in the sports and activity sector are enjoyed across the whole country?

As part of the government’s Sport Strategy, the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) established a Sports Business Council to provide insight into these very issues, tasked with developing a new business strategy to help support growth, improve access to finance and develop skills.

This session brings together sector leaders and Business Council members to explore the work of the Business Council, the impact of Brexit and the implications of the government’s Industrial Strategy, discussing what measures, policies and approaches are required to unleash the economic potential and continued growth and prosperity of the physical activity sector.

Steven Ward, Chief Executive at ukactive

Day 1: 15:00-15:40 Elevate Conference

In his time with ukactive Steven helped maintain its deep connection to the major health and fitness operators, while shaping the body’s rebrand from the FIA to ukactive. He has strengthened ukactive's ties to key partners such as the Department of Health and Sport England, and driven ukactive's partnerships with major brands. Steven has been a part of the team which has dramatically grown the size of ukactive and extension of its impact while maintaining a strict focus on its core mission of serving its members.

In 2014 Steven and the policy team were awarded the 2014 Public Affairs Award for Trade Association Campaign of the Year in recognition of driving almost £40m of additional investment into tackling inactivity at local authority public health team level, a campaign which subsequently led to £250m extra investment into inactivity from Sport England. He is a policy expert on all matters relating to the promotion of physical activity for health and is prominent commentator on the topic both within the sector and beyond. He loves trying out as many of his members new products and services as he can, therefore keeping right up to date with the latest trends impacting the fitness industry.

Panellists include:

Andrew Honeyman, Head of Sport at Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport

Tara Dillon, Chief Executive at CIMSPA

Robert Cook, Managing Director UK at Virgin Active

Alison Dalrymple, Owner at Good Form Group