UK Athletics partners with marathon giants to dodge multi-billion losses

UK Athletics partners with marathon giants to dodge multi-billion losses

Festus Chuma 07:00 - 16.04.2024

UK Athletics has partnered with marathon organizers to revitalize the sport and ensure financial stability through innovative joint venture 'Athletic Ventures'.

UK Athletics (UKA) has unveiled a significant partnership with London Marathon Events (LME) and The Great Run Company (GRC) to secure the future of the sport amidst financial turmoil. 

This new alliance, named 'Athletic Ventures', aims to not only safeguard but also enhance the profile and viability of athletics in the UK through innovative approaches to event management and commercial strategies.

In recent years, UKA faced daunting financial challenges, including a nearly £2 million (Ksh 324,942,390) loss in 2022 and additional burdens from high-cost safeguarding cases and redundancies.

These issues threatened the sustainability of athletics in the UK, even against the backdrop of successful events such as the London Diamond League, which saw a sell-out crowd of 50,000 at the London Stadium but still incurred losses due to low sponsorship and broadcast revenues.

The newly formed 'Athletic Ventures' joint venture marks a strategic pivot towards a sustainable model, leveraging the expertise of LME and GRC, organizations renowned for their successful management of the world’s most popular marathon and half marathon events. 

The partnership is set to spearhead major athletic events, including the 2026 European Championships in Birmingham and the annual Diamond League in the UK.

Additionally, it will lead bids for future global competitions, such as the 2029 World Athletics Championships.

Lord Coe, President of World Athletics, expressed his enthusiasm for the venture.

 "This is a very exciting time for our sport. We are attracting viewers in the hundreds of millions for our World Championships, and with the Paris Olympics mere months away, the interest in athletics will only increase," as per UKA website.

Jack Buckner, CEO of UKA, highlighted the innovative nature of the partnership.

 "This is a groundbreaking model for the development of athletics and for major sports events in the UK. We believe our new partnership, which combines the national governing body with the expertise of London Marathon Events and The Great Run Company, will transform the future of athletics in this country," he said.

Athletics, being the most-watched sport at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, enjoys a significant following. 

The new alliance aims to capitalize on this popularity by enhancing the event experience and ensuring greater financial stability.

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