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Published in Sports Management Jul Aug 2017 issue 132

Data sharing improves decision making for sports sector

Alex Burrows ,

Director,

4 global (DataHub)


I was thrilled to see Sport Wales join the DataHub initiative last month. ‘Sector collaboration’ is a phrase that’s commonly thrown around but, until now, there have been very few real-life examples.

With national bodies such as Sport Wales, Badminton England and England Squash now using the DataHub to power their intelligence and subsequent investment decisions, we’re beginning to see the benefits of collaboration resonating right through from grassroots providers to the national sporting agencies.

DataHub member organisations (facility operators and delivery partners) at last have an insight into what’s working best when it comes to achieving participation outcomes, as well as an insight into social value. They can see how best to position their own offering within an ever-competitive environment. The national bodies, meanwhile, can better coordinate partners and investment back into facilities.

If everyone got on board with sharing data, it would facilitate more targeted decision-making about which sport programmes deliver the greatest local outcomes and impacts. At a sector-wide level, it could fast become a way for operators to detect gaps in their offering and partner with organisations that can fill this gap, enabling better returns from their facilities.

Support from influential agencies such as Sport Wales is key. They’ve recognised that the sector can plan investment more effectively if there’s a ‘single source of truth’ in relation to key intelligence and, furthermore, that this information is ultimately best managed by the sector itself. It enables consistency and collaboration, and ultimately puts everyone on a continuous cycle of improvement, which is truly driven by the sports sector as a whole.

England Squash is one of the national governing bodies to join the DataHub community / © Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images
England Squash is one of the national governing bodies to join the DataHub community/ © Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images
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