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Sport England Teams up With OIA Partners to Deliver New Outdoor Activity Research Project

Sport England has awarded The Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) a lottery award to fund an extensive new market research project.  The partnership will help Sport England and the overall industry gain understanding of the outdoor physical activity market in order to retain existing participants as well as attracting new regular participants to the outdoors activity.

The new partnership will pull together existing research and emerging activity to provide detailed market analysis The first phase of the project, to be completed by January 2015, will be used to identify market gaps and opportunities within the outdoor sector, and be shared industry wide.

Sport England’s Director of Insight, Lisa O’Keefe, said: “Our partnership with the OIA will give Sport England and the outdoor sector greater scope to make improvements in the levels of participation for regular outdoor sport and activity. By partnering with the OIA and bringing together partners, we can start to share insight, develop networks and explore partnerships in order to increase participation”

CEO of OIA Andrew Denton, said: “This new partnership is a fantastic opportunity for our industry to benefit from ground breaking insights into the outdoor market. We’re delighted to be partnering with Sport England and confident that the results of the project will help to make significant impact on increasing regular outdoor sports and activity participation throughout the nation.”

Sport England have worked with OIA for a number of years, and have provided a ‘Britain on Foot grant’ via the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), and earlier this year have helped the National Trust and the Forestry Commission gain project funding to increase outdoor activity on their grounds. Both of these research projects have indicated the potential of the outdoor market to increasing sports participation amongst the wide variety of consumer groups. Emerging insights include:

  • 24 million adults regularly visit the outdoors (MENE Survey, 2012-2013). 885,000 of these adults regularly take part in ‘adventure sports’ in the outdoors (APS7)
  • A large market of cross-sport consumers who want to experience a range of outdoor sports
  • New target audiences – like explorer families, thrill seekers and silver surfers
  • Gateway sports like cycling and running that can incentivise participation in other sports
  • The health and sporting benefits of green and blue space
  • The potential of informal sport linked to social experience (often aided by technology)
  • Discovering sport (accidentally) in the outdoors environment can lead to a regular sporting habit.

For further information about the OIA, please visit

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