Spirit of 2012, Counsel, and Loughborough University are delighted to be working together to deliver an exciting project to explore the potential for a UK Capital of Sport. This project will have a strong focus on health and wellbeing and will work through multiple stages to gather evidence and testing stakeholder and public appetite for different models for the Capital of Sport before making recommendations in 2024.

Our project will focus on:

  • The readiness factors for places in the UK to host and the prominence of the placemaking agenda to include all types of ‘places’ in funding and policy decisions;
  • Cost of living and economic factors creating challenges and opportunities around models for an effective Capital of Sport;
  • Health and wellbeing drivers and innovation around building this into a Capital of Sport model;
  • Opportunities and challenges to develop the Capital of Sport model based on the learnings from the City of Culture model and other iterations of this event, such as those across Europe.

The project will be led by Counsel and supported by an interdisciplinary team of expert advisers to develop in-depth recommendations on alternative models, strategic fit, funding and risks.

Ruth Hollis, Chief Executive, Spirit of 2012 said: “We are looking forward to working with Counsel and Loughborough University on the feasibility study for Capital of Sport. It marks the beginning of an exciting opportunity to bring to life one of the key proposals offered in our Inquiry into the Power of Events. In the last decade, we have seen increases in wellbeing, cultural participation and local civic pride within Cities of Culture.

“We have good reason to believe these successes can be replicated with regard to increasing levels of physical activity and participation in sport and this study will be an important first step to their actualisation.”

James Allen, Director, Counsel said: “We’re very proud to be working with Spirit, experts from the sector and colleagues at Loughborough to explore how a capital of sport could work, what models would be most politically and financially viable and how this project could contribute to delivering a strong health and wellbeing legacy.

“We’re approaching this project with completely open minds and I’m excited to see where the evidence leads us before making our recommendations next year.”

Dr Verity Postlethwaite, project lead for Loughborough University said: “The project team from across the University is excited to work collaboratively with Spirit of 2012, experts from the sector and Counsel on this feasibility study around a UK Capital of Sport. The strong focus on health and wellbeing offers a fantastic starting point for the study and we will work hard to gather views and ideas from across the UK and a variety of communities.”