Pubs Contribute An Estimated £40 Million To Grassroots Sport As Rich Heritage Remains Strong

Pubs across the country are providing a lifeline for grassroots sport, worth an estimated £40 million a year in financial and in kind support, according to new research published today.

This first-of-its-kind research was undertaken for PubAid, the organisation that promotes the good work done by pubs across the UK, and supported by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the Sport and Recreation Alliance.

Sports Minister Nigel Adams said: “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.”

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

“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.”

Des O’Flanagan, co-founder of PubAid, said: “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.”

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “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.”

Top 5 sports supported by pubs

  • Football (40%)
  • Pub games (e.g. darts/pool): 30%
  • Cricket (16%)
  • Rugby Union (10%)
  • Rugby League (4%)

Getting involved: tips for licensees

  • Think carefully about which sports you’d like to support: for your sponsorship to be successful, choose a sport that is popular in your local community. What sports do your regulars play or follow?
  • Research the local sports teams in your area. Create a list of those you would like to offer support to, and think about what this support will include before you approach a team. Will it be direct financial support, or in kind, or a combination of both?
  • When you are ready to approach a sports team about offering support, make sure you approach someone who is in a position to make decisions for the club, such as a chair or treasurer.
  • Remember the value of in-kind support: if you’re offering a free buffet after home games, make sure the sports club realises how much that will save them in room hire and refreshment costs.
  • Be clear to the sports club about what you expect from them in return for your support.  Do you get sponsorship rights?  Are you expecting them to drink in your pub after matches and training?  Being clear up-front saves confusion down the line and leads to a better partnership for pub and sports team.