New research shows pubs across the country are providing a lifeline for grassroots sport, worth an estimated £40m a year in financial and in kind support.
This first-of-its-kind research was undertaken for PubAid, the organisation that promotes the good work done by pubs across the UK, and supported by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the Sport and Recreation Alliance.
Sports Minister Nigel Adams said: "Pubs play an important role in supporting local sports clubs. They act as sponsors, fundraisers and meeting places, saving teams significant sums every year.
"This survey highlights the strong relationship between pubs and sports clubs, and is a clear indication of the importance of local, community support."
Des O'Flanagan, co-founder of PubAid, said: "We were expecting the research to show a strong connection between grassroots sport and pubs, but the scale of the support, both in financial terms and in the sheer number of sports sponsored by their local, was staggering.
"The support – either in money or in kind – equates to an average annual donation from each pub of £1,025. For many grassroots clubs struggling to stay afloat, that kind of help plugs the funding gap and enables thousands of people across the country to play the sport they love, with huge benefits to their physical and mental wellbeing."
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: "The PubAid report showcases the vital role pubs play in helping grassroots sports teams to compete across the UK and to encourage sports participation and physical activity which is so vital to our health and wellbeing.
"From sponsorships, through to free meals and venue hire, it is clear that many community sports teams simply wouldn't get by without the help of their local pub. For pubs, helping a local sports team is a great way of giving back to the community they serve."
Top 5 sports supported by pubs:
- Football (40%)
- Pub games (e.g. darts/pool): 30%
- Cricket (16%)
- Rugby Union (10%)
- Rugby League (4%)