Over the past 20 years, some of the world’s most iconic sporting moments have taken place in the UK, cementing the country’s global reputation as a successful host of the biggest one-off and annual sporting events.
UK Sport is the lead agency at the UK level responsible for supporting the programming, bidding and staging of major sporting events across the UK. We work in partnership with sporting, national and regional organisations to ensure that the UK hosts the world’s biggest international sporting events. Through our programmes we have helped to secure and support over 175 events since 2010.
To ensure that the UK remains a world-leading host nation throughout the 2020s and into the 2030s, UK Sport consulted with its key stakeholders throughout 2020 in relation to its investment strategy to ensure it was fit for purpose for the next decade. Our strength is our ability to commit to the future and ensure we have a long-term programme of events. We are investing National Lottery funding to major events through to 2029 and operate multiple investment programmes, with the addition of a new National Events Programme.
Pinnacle Events Programme
This programme aims to attract the most important global events, to world leading standards in a way that showcases the best of the UK’s brand values as a host nation: Quality, Innovation, Prestige and Passion.
The Pinnacle Events Programme brings together those ‘mega events’ funded exceptionally by Government on a one-off basis, alongside UK Sport’s National Lottery funding which supports World Championships and certain European Championships.
The National Lottery funded element of this programme is currently supporting events through to 2029, and has the following key objectives which are used to help prioritise hosting targets:
- Create extraordinary moments
- Reach, inspire and unite the nation
- Strengthen UK’s place in the world
- Drive economic impact
These objectives are reflective of UK Sport’s wider strategy to ‘Power Success and Inspire Impact’ in all that we do.
Performance Events Programme
This programme has the purpose to host events which support athletes and sports in their Games qualification, classification and preparation. Given the purpose, the aim is to support events to functional standards focused on athlete services.
The focus for this programme will be on those disciplines supported by a UK Sport Performance Programme (Podium and Academy) and Commonwealth Sports in the pre-Games year.
The scope for this programme includes World and European Championships, Premium World Circuit, World Junior and Top tier leagues to be hosted in the Paris Cycle Only.
The funding will be prioritised on the ability of events to deliver against the 3 hosting objectives of: qualification, classification and preparation.
National Events Programme
The purpose of this small grants fund is to protect and develop national competition structures that play a critical role in the growth and health of the sport and their performance strategies. It will have three investment objectives to:
- Provide and drive innovation in national competition
- Complement performance strategy
- Support the sustainable business operation and growth of the National Governing Bodies (NGB) of sport
How the investment process works
Pinnacle and Performance Events Programmes
Prior to each event hosting target being developed into a bid, we work with the specific sport and host location on their detailed business plan and budget. This is reviewed internally before being proposed to the UK Sport Major Events Panel. The Major Events Panel then makes an investment recommendation to the UK Sport Board.
UK Sport invests funding from The National Lottery into major events, and is a deficit funder – meaning that we only consider investing into events that need our financial support to be staged. In addition to The National Lottery funding, UK Sport may also act as the investment vehicle through which DCMS funds mega sporting events – for example the 2014 Tour de France, Rugby League World Cup 2021 and the European Women’s Championships 2022.
When the funding award is agreed for an event and the bid won, a UK Sport Major Events Consultant will continue to work with the sport to support the planning and delivery phases of the event.
National Events Programme
The investment process will be different to the Pinnacle and Performance Event Programmes and will open in ‘rounds’ for applications for specific events or strategic projects within NGBs that meet one or more of the objectives. NGBs considering an application should speak to their Major Events Consultant for the application documentation.
Our investment guide contains more information for event partners regarding this process, with a National Events Programme guidance document also available.