Pubs contribute £40m to grassroots sport

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

The perfect match: according to a new report, pubs contribute £40m to grassroots sport
The perfect match: according to a new report, pubs contribute £40m to grassroots sport
A report examining the link between the on-trade and grassroots sport has revealed pubs contribute, on average, more than £1,000 each to nearby clubs each year.

Commissioned by PubAid, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the Sport + Recreation Alliance, Pubs and Sport: The Perfect Match​ was compiled by sports writer Will Hawkes.

While revealing the financial extent of pubs’ support for grassroots sport, the report outlines hints and tips for licensees looking to get involved with local teams and case studies of operators who have done so successfully.

What’s more, the report also listed the top five sports backed by pubs with football coming out on top (40%); ahead of pub games (eg, darts/pool) 30%; cricket (16%); rugby union (10%); and rugby league (4%).

This inextricable link between football and pubs has previously been highlighted by Carlsberg’s ‘best pub team in the world’ campaign – featuring England legends such as Peter Shilton and Bobby Charlton – as well as BT Sport’s Pub Cup which this year featured a 32-team women’s tournament​ alongside the third instalment of the men’s competition.

Pub and Sport report cover

‘Staggering’ level of support

Discussing the report’s release, sports minister Nigel Adams explained: “Pubs play an important role in supporting local sports clubs. They act as sponsors, fundraisers and meeting places, saving teams significant sums every year. 

“This survey highlights the strong relationship between pubs and sports clubs and is a clear indication of the importance of local, community support.”

PubAid co-founder Des O’Flanagan added: “We were expecting the research to show a strong connection between grassroots sport and pubs, but the scale of the support, both in financial terms and in the sheer number of sports sponsored by their local, was staggering.

“The support – either in money or in kind – equates to an average annual donation from each pub of £1,025. For many grassroots clubs struggling to stay afloat, that kind of help plugs the funding gap and enables thousands of people across the country to play the sport they love, with huge benefits to their physical and mental wellbeing.”

Giving back to community

“Funding at a grassroots level is one of the biggest concerns for sport and recreation clubs across the country,” Lisa Wainwright, CEO of the Sport + Recreation Alliance explained.

“Looking at innovative, engaging ways to connect with the local community is an excellent way of making clubs financially stable and, in turn, allowing them to support a local industry.

“We’re delighted to see such a vast range of sport and recreation activities benefiting from these relationships.”

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds added: “The PubAid report showcases the vital role pubs play in helping grassroots sports teams to compete across the UK and to encourage sports participation and physical activity which is so vital to our health and wellbeing. 

“From sponsorships, through to free meals and venue hire, it is clear that many community sports teams simply wouldn’t get by without the help of their local pub.

“For pubs, helping a local sports team is a great way of giving back to the community they serve.”

The report can be read in full here.

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