UK sports bodies re-invest over £170 million in grassroots sports

voluntary code broadcasting ()

Major UK sports bodies have invested a record £173.4m into grassroots and growth of sports, from broadcast revenues over the last year.

This commitment, part of the Voluntary Code of Conduct on the Broadcasting of Major Sporting Events, will continue to provide transformative support, improving facilities and inclusion at sports clubs across the country.  

The Code is administered and supported by the Sport and Recreation Alliance and requires the UKs major sporting bodies to put a minimum 30% of net broadcasting revenues back into their respective sports and to make their events available to free-to-air broadcasters in live, recorded or highlights format so they can be viewed by as many people as possible.  

By committing to their grassroots, top sports are sending a strong and welcome message about the power of grassroots to deliver transformational change to communities and break down the barriers, during a time of huge pressure on public and personal finances.  

Commenting on the year’s review of Code compliance, Chair Jon Zeff said:  

“It is extremely pleasing to see record levels of investment into grassroots sports by signatories to the Code. The past few years have been enormously challenging for sports bodies at both elite and grassroots level. However, the continued reinvestment of broadcast revenues under the Code demonstrates a commitment by sports bodies to support the long-term development of their sports, which is crucial for unlocking health, wellbeing and societal benefits the sector can deliver.”  

Real impact in communities – where the investment goes: 

In Bradford, the impact of the Voluntary Code of Conduct is making a real difference by increasing participation and diversity in the city’s cricket community.  

Two grants totalling £1.7m, allocated by the England and Wales Cricket Board, has enabled Bradford Park Avenue to build a state of the art covered outdoor cricket facility.  

The top-quality facilities aim to deliver cricket sessions for 10,000 local people year-round and is leading the charge in the growth of Women's and Girls' cricket, with specific coach education and softball festival programmes supporting a new generation of female participants. The programme has led to the formation of a successful new Women's and Girls’ cricket club, Bradford Park Avenue Ladies CC. 

The ground also hosts the Yorkshire CCC-led Crick-EAT programme, providing free coaching, meals and healthy living support to kids in school holidays, increasing the accessibility of sport to those more likely to miss out on sport and its benefits due to social and economic barriers. 

Seeing cricket using its broadcast revenues to broaden access to the many benefits of grassroots sport is something to be celebrated.  

Other examples of investment in the long-term development of sport can be found here: 

Further details on the Code and 2023 outcomes: 

  • The Code is open to both governing bodies and event organisers that hold UK broadcast rights.   
  • Signatories to the Voluntary Code of Conduct on the Broadcasting of Major Sporting Events commit to complying with one or both of the following key principles: 
    • Accessibility – signatories endeavour to ensure television coverage of their events is available in live, recorded or highlights form on free-to-air channels;
    • Reinvestment – signatories will reinvest 30% of the net revenue from the sale of UK broadcasting rights into the long-term development of their sport. 
  • Signatories assessed as compliant with the accessibility and reinvestment principles are: The Football Association, England and Wales Cricket Board, the Rugby Football Union, The R&A and the Lawn Tennis Association (jointly with the All England Lawn Tennis Club on behalf of The Championships, Wimbledon). Signatories assessed as compliant with the accessibility principle of the Code are the European Tour, the Rugby Football League, the Premier League and UK Athletics.  
  • For this year, the Rugby Football League (RFL) did not meet the 30% reinvestment figure, although did invest almost £1.5m of broadcast revenues into grassroots development. Commercial affairs across rugby league are now managed centrally through a new vehicle, RL Commercial, which has impacted on the reporting of broadcast revenues. Coupled with a reduction in the value of broadcast revenues, this has led to non-compliance in the latest reporting period. It is expected that rugby league as a whole will return to compliance with the reinvestment principle in the next compliance period. The RFL remained compliant with the accessibility principle, with all its major events made available free-to-air. 
  • The Sports Broadcast Monitoring Committee oversees compliance with the Code. The Committee consists of an independent chair (Jon Zeff), representatives of sports rights owners and independent members with specific expertise.  
  • As set out in the Code, examples of investment in the long-term development of sport include but are not limited to: youth programmes, community sports facilities, education and training, research and development, coach education, volunteer training and communication and engagement programmes. A number of case studies illustrating how broadcast income is reinvested by Code signatories into the long term development of their sports can be found at: