Westminster Media Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Next steps for elite, professional and community sports - sustainability, governance, participation and media consumption, and emerging from COVID-19

Morning, Friday, 30th April 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference is assessing the outlook for the sports sector and the way forward for tackling key challenges being faced across elite, professional and community levels.

Areas for discussion include:

  • additional support might be required for recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • preparation for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games
  • the evolving landscape for media coverage
  • market dynamics and revenue streams, including sponsorship
  • key issues for sports governance and long-term financial sustainability across all levels of UK sport

The agenda

  • The outlook for the sports sector - key challenges, and assessing what sector support might be required to recover from the COVID-19 crisis
  • The impact of COVID-19 on grassroots and community sport - regrowing participation, financial sustainability, liability for safety and duty of care, and opportunities for collaboration harnessing the power of innovation in technology
  • The way forward for elite sport -  finances, training and learning from the sector’s response to changing circumstances, priorities for governance, and key issues for risk mitigation going forward
  • Innovation in commercial broadcasting and online distribution - partnerships, responding to the pandemic and implications for the sector going forward
  • Sport sponsorship - the regulatory and commercial outlook, and adapting to changes in consumption
  • Preparing for the delayed Olympic and Paralympic Games - the outlook for elite sport funding, support, sustainability and governance
  • Policy priorities for supporting elite, community and grassroots sport and sector recovery

Background to the discussion:

  • Work by Government and Sport England to support grassroots and community sport, including:
    • Uniting the Movement - Sport England’s new 10-year strategy designed to support increased physical activity, and remove barriers to participation
    • the National Leisure Recovery Fund - launched to mitigate against the impact of the pandemic on publicly owned leisure facilities
    • New funding to help schools open their sports facilities - an investment of £10m aimed at enabling more children and young people to have access to sports and leisure facilities
    • Funding, innovation and flexibility - wider funding being made available to support sport bodies across England
  • Sport in our communities - the ongoing DCMS Committee inquiry looking at:
    • the financial sustainability of grassroots and community sport
    • the impact of the pandemic on public health and people’s participation in sport
  • the Sports Winter Survival Package - a £300m cash injection announced by the Government, which aims to support major spectator sports through the winter
  • Culture secretary and sports minister lead roundtable discussion on future of football - aimed at getting players’ perspective on tackling discrimination and abuse in the game
  • the future of gambling sponsorship in football - under consideration as part of the Government’s review of the Gambling Act 2005
  • UK Sport’s response to the pandemic and long-term funding plans, including:
    • the Continuity Fund - designed to support NGBs and mitigate the impact of COVID-19
    • increased investment in Olympic sports - recent plans for £352m funding for an increased number of sports in the build up to the postponed Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games through to the Paris Games in 2024 and beyond following the announcement of its funding strategy for beyond Tokyo

Key areas for discussion:

Grassroots and community sport - mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and moving forward:

  • support - assessing what has been offered for the sector, what more is needed and how it should be targeted to address the financial and wider impacts of lockdown measures
  • participation:
    • strategies for encouraging the public of all ages to re-engage with organised physical activity
    • opportunities for collaboration with local government, business, health services and other stakeholders
  • innovation - what can be learned for grassroots sport in how technology has been harnessed to encourage physical activity through the pandemic
  • safety and duty of care:
    • ensuring that participants and staff are protected, best practice in designing and implementing measures, and securing the support that will be needed going forward
    • insurance and liability - what is likely to be the legal position for sports clubs and bodies
  • financial sustainability - what further help will be needed for community and grassroots sport as it continues to adapt to evolving restrictions and guidance

Professional spectator sport:

  • reopening the sector:
    • how the reopening of venues, and eventual return of fans will be handled
    • developing clear guidelines on risk mitigation
    • implications for the financial sustainability of the sector
  • sports coverage - innovation and changing viewer habits:
    • assessing the impact of changes in the way fans are accessing sports coverage, and what it will mean for the post-pandemic market
    • how media outlets, online and broadcast, are adapting to the impact of the pandemic to enable the continuation of some elite level sport and keep fans engaged
  • market dynamics:
    • the impact of new entrants and new technology, and how partnerships are developing
    • implications of increased choice for consumers on football and other sports, and on established broadcast outlets going forward
    • how the easing of lockdown measures in the UK and internationally will change the market
  • finances and regulation:
    • what changes to the market, consumer habits and the widening choices on how sports coverage is accessed mean for monetisation across the sport value chain
    • the impact of potential regulatory changes in areas such as sponsorship, with the UK government considering the future of gambling sponsorship in football as part of its review of the Gambling Act 2005

Preparing for the delayed Olympic and Paralympic Games:

  • support for national governing bodies (NGBs) - assessing UK Sport and government assistance for NGBs ahead of the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics
  • safety measures - what needs to be put in place to support the Olympics and Paralympics to take place, as well as the duty of care of NGBs
  • participation and competitiveness - what help and sector action will be needed, as well as how best to mitigate against the longer-term implications of the pandemic, including the talent pipeline and availability of safe operational facilities

Policy officials attending:

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from stakeholders from across the sports sector including governance bodies and their consultants, regional associations, sports clubs, schools and training centres, disability sports groups, funding bodies, local government, researchers from academia and higher education, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Ed Warner

Chair, GB Wheelchair Rugby and Author, Sport Inc

Adrian Christy

Chief Executive, Badminton England; and Director, Sport and Recreation Alliance


Heather Douglas

Head of Policy & Impact, UK Coaching

Victoria Aggar

Chair, British Athletes Commission

Anna Scott-Marshall

Director of Communications, British Paralympic Association

Jack Buckner

CEO, British Swimming

Robert Morini

Head of Governance and International Relations, UK Sport