Physical activity sector urged to embrace digital

Thursday 2nd May 2019

Leaders in the sport and physical activity sector have called upon colleagues to embrace technology to make it easier for people to get active.

A ComRes survey has found that people find it twice as easy to order takeaway food online than to book a sport or fitness class.

That’s why we’re awarding a further £1.5 million of National Lottery funding to the Open Data Institute (ODI) to help the sector innovate, open their data and develop their digital offering.

Our Chief Executive, Tim Hollingsworth, is urging sport and physical activity providers to commit to opening their data – in the same way transport providers have done, leading to apps such as CityMapper – by the end of the year.

“There is a significant prize to be won here if the sport and physical activity sector seizes the opportunity to embrace digital innovation and open up their data,” he said.

Tipping point moment


The ODI, an independent, non-profit organisation founded in 2012 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt, offers training, research and strategic advice for organisations looking to explore the possibilities of data.

In November 2016 they launched OpenActive, which has now seen 27 organisations – including Greenwich Leisure Limited, British Cycling and Our Parks – publish their data, resulting in more than 170,000 physical activity sessions a month being made available online.

With consumers increasingly using online services as a regular part of their life, opening data will give people greater access to sport online in a way that best fits their lives.

“This is a real tipping point moment,” added Tim. “Now is the time for the whole sector to collaborate to reach millions more people, remove the barriers they face and supercharge the number of people getting active in England for the health of our nation.”

The £1.5 million will help the ODI to continue their work in the sport and physical activity sector, which has seen OpenActive data used by 10 startups that we mentored and are working on innovative tech solutions to help people get active.

We’re calling on members of the sport and physical activity sector to open their data by the end of the year, to pledge your support please click here.

Find out more here.