Industry needs to be more collaborative, says London Sport chief executive

Matthew Campelliin Industry News

Peter Fitzboydon, the outgoing chief executive of London Sport, has called on the sport sector to collaborate to head off the competition posed by other leisure activities for people's time.

Talking at the Why Sport? Conference in London, Fitzboydon - who will leave the body for Parkwood Leisure in June - said that organisations such as national governing bodies should adopt a "collective bargaining" strategy like the arts sector to entice people to sport.

"All the different providers are competing against each other for attention," he said.

"This really came to a head when I was at a consultation meeting recently with some big national governing bodies and we we're asking who their competitors are. They were pointing at each other, which is a ridiculous thing to say."

Claiming that even the banking sector was more collaborative than public sector sport, Fitzboydon added: "What we need to do figuratively is do what the arts do very well - collective bargaining. 'It's us against them, It's us against shopping'.

"Why aren't we working together to market and promote what we do as oppose to them [other leisure activities]. If the [sports] market is bigger, ultimately we all benefit from it."

Fitzboydon use a Deloitte's 2016 report A Passion for Leisure to illustrate his point.

With the report showing that the leisure industry had grown at twice the speed of retail over the last five years, he said the perception that people didn't have enough time for leisure didn't stack up.

However, while leisure offerings such as sport and physical activity, eating out and going on holiday had stagnated over that period, the growth had come from people spending time streaming videos and using online services.

As well as greater collaboration, he said the sector needed to be more creative, and put into practice more streamlined online booking operations for sport and physical activity to make it as easy as booking a hotel or flight.

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