UK Athletics announces ‘groundbreaking’ venture to help it tackle financial crisis


UK Athletics has announced a “groundbreaking” new joint venture with the organisers of the London Marathon and Great North Run in a bid to help it tackle a financial crisis.

It follows the governing body reporting a record annual loss of £3.7m, external in 2023.

Most of that deficit was due to the staging of major events.

UKA was awarded up to £150,000 by UK Sport to help stage July’s Diamond League meeting last year, after it approached the funding agency for help.

Despite it being a sellout, UKA is reported to have lost between £100,000 and £500,000 from the flagship event.

UKA says Athletic Ventures, which is a partnership with London Marathon Events and The Great Run Company, will “transform the future and growth” of the sport in the UK and help it deliver major events.

Athletic Ventures will oversee the 2026 European Athletics Championships in Birmingham and the yearly Diamond League event in the UK.

It will also lead a potential bid for the UK to host the World Athletics Championships in 2029, while attempting to find new commercial partners for athletics in the UK.

As well as the impact of Covid on ticket sales, UKA’s broadcast and commercial revenues have declined steeply in recent years. It has been without a title sponsor since 2022, and is predicting a loss of £1.6m for the current financial year.

UKA chief executive Jack Buckner said: “This is a groundbreaking model for the development of athletics and for major sports events in the UK, and 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.

“Athletics is the most watched sport at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, millions in the UK will be watching the Diamond League at the London Stadium and hundreds of millions across the globe will be following the action from the stadium in Paris, putting our sport and our great athletes – such as Molly Caudery, Hannah Cockroft, Keely Hodgkinson, Matthew Hudson-Smith and Josh Kerr – front of mind.

“We pledge to build on this huge opportunity to rejuvenate British athletics, working alongside our home country partners, to restore our sport to the popularity of the golden days of the 1980s.”

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