Sport England and ODI to revolutionise the way the nation can search to get active

Sport England has today announced a new partnership with the Open Data Institute (ODI) to make it easier for people to find the information they need to book dance classes, find free tennis courts and take part in physical activity sessions. 

Sport England and the ODI will encourage larger and small organisations to publish data for the first time. The new data will power online services such as apps to help users find physical activity opportunities at their fingertips.

The data, which does not have any personal information, will be available for anyone to access, use and share. It is hoped that the collaboration will encourage innovators and start-ups to develop new products and services that will tell people about opportunities to get active.

Using data to help people get active is something that Sport England recognise as a longer term cultural change in the sports sector.  It is an area the Alliance has highlighted for some time – it is the theme of this week’s Leadership Convention, we explore it in detail in our Fit for the Future programme of work and in May we hosted a technology and insight month which featured blogs from industry experts. The use of data was also the key theme of our 2016 Sports Summit, which was designed to help organisations understand how to evidence impact and use data.

Emma Boggis, Chief Executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance said: “This is a very interesting partnership between Sport England and the ODI which promises to primarily improve the direct consumer. Building on the experience of people like Transport for London, who we heard from at our Sports Summit in May, the project will simplify a consumer’s journey of how they can go and be active and in real-time. We have been encouraging the sector for some time now and we look forward to offering support to Sport England, the Open Data Institute and our members as this project develops.”

Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Insight at Sport England said: “With opportunities to go swimming described and advertised in more than 6,000 different ways, you can be left feeling it's easier to break the enigma code than navigate a pool timetable.

“But it doesn't have to be that way and the sports sector is ready and willing to change that. We want to make it as easy to book a badminton court as it is a hotel room, and open data is an essential part of that.”

Jeni Tennison, Chief Executive of the Open Data Institute said: “Over the coming months the ODI, Sport England and the physical activity community will come together to create new ways to find activities – engaging large and small organisations to publish their data for the first time.”

If you'd like to know more about how your organisation can get involved in this new collaboration and its aim to get more people active with data, please click here