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Polo in the Park

Polo in the Park

Tim Underhill, founder and CEO of SportonSpec, has teamed up with House of Sport for the launch of its spectator sport business in London. The launch event takes place on 26 October at the venue in central London.

SportonSpec is a service designed to be a one-stop shop for sporting events enthusiasts and for organiser to promote their events. Originally launched in Scotland in late 2013, Underhill is now expanding the service to the UK capital.

A web-based offering, SportonSpec comprises an A to Z spectator sport guide. The aim is for fans to find the sport they love as well as discover plenty of new ones that probably wouldn’t known about otherwise.

Underhill told Access the business idea behind his venture is the realisation that spectator sports struggle to reach the audience and vice versa. “A recent report revealed that 18 million people in the UK go to see live sports every year. If you think about it, these sporting events are an entertainment, so there is a big crossover with music festival and live events. After five years with SportonSpec in Scotland, I realised that organisers of sport events really have to think about how they project themselves to reach their audience and SportonSpec has been designed to help them achieve that,” he said.

The SportonSpec boss has also revealed that his venture has gained the trust and support of major clubs and sport events organisers. SportonSpec Scotland, he noted, is supported by VisitScotland.

Underhill’s business has also recently signed a partnership agreement with Scottish Women in Sport to provide them with spectator content for their Girls Do Sport campaign.

Game changer

SportonSpec aims to connect sport events organisers with the audience, and ultimately, contribute to tickets sale. “What I’ve learned from the experience with the business in Scotland is that unless it’s a big, high profile sport – or a big club behind it – sporting events would struggle to get the word out. And that actually accounts for the vast majority of them, whether it’s outdoor or indoor,” Underhill explained. “Only 5 per cent of sport events sell out, so there is a big opportunity with SportonSpec as a solution to sell more ticket and get to the right audience,” he said.

Night of the 10k PBs

Athletics. Night of the 10k PBs. Women’s race start

With the tag line ‘A night of sporting discovery’, Underhill is launching SportonSpec in London at the House of Sport with an event featuring three different sports. Underhill hasn’t disclosed details about the programme, but said guests include a London 2012 Olympian.

Underhill commented: “London has an amazing choice of live action to choose from with household names performing weekly in traditional sports such as rugby, football and cricket, not to mention in a host of other sports – such as those that feature in the Olympics – that can go under the radar.

“These are exciting times to be involved in the spectator experience with clubs, promoters and governing bodies alike looking to innovate and attract new audiences to their live events. The All-Stars basketball and Fast5 netball at The O2 in September and Golf Sixes earlier this year demonstrated the entertainment value of shorter formats. And then you have new sports such as drone racing and esports going from strength to strength.”

Tim Underhill

Tim Underhill

House of Sport the first of its kind in London. It provides physical activity and sport in London, the site features a shared office block entirely dedicated to the sector.

On 18 August, London Sport revealed the initial plans for the project. Launched as a not-for-profit venture it provides collaborative office space for 150 to 200 people at a fraction of the cost of commercial shared office space providers.