London 2012 can help the UK sports sector through economic difficulties, says Sir Keith
Wednesday, 31 October 2012
October 31 - Sir Keith Mills, the London 2012 deputy chairman, believes the business skills demonstrated in delivering this summer's Olympic and Paralympic Games will help Britain's sports industry withstand the global economic downturn that has hit so many other sectors hard in recent years.
Speaking to GlobalSportsJobs for the relaunch of their website about the sporting and business legacies of London 2012, the multi-millionaire, who founded the nectar loyalty card scheme, said the Games "provided sport with the opportunity to become more business-like".
"It is going to need to be, particularly in the current economic climate which I think might continue for another five or 10 years," Sir Keith added.
"Those sports which approach their business professionally are those which will win out."
As a sector that is often accused of being behind the times, he explained how British sport is evolving as a commercial venture.
"Historically, sport has relied on volunteers and hasn't paid huge amounts of money," said the 62-year-old Sir Keith, who is also a director at Tottentham Hotspur.
"With the exception of the Premier League, it has been behind the rest of business.
"But this has changed dramatically in the last few years.
"It is now a very big industry and it is starting to attract some very smart people."
Sir Keith, who is also a trustee of the national charity Sported which helps improve the lives of disadvantaged 11 to 25-year-olds, goes on to say how London 2012 has brought many more people in touch with sport.
"We had 210,000 people working during the summer on the Olympics and most of them were not sportsmen.
"They came from all walks of life – the volunteers, the contractors, the caterers – and for them the Games and being close to sport was a big part of their lives.
"So we've touched a huge number of people across the United Kingdom and we can use this as a springboard to engage more people both in the participation of sport and for business to get closer to sport.
"I think the Games have demonstrated the value sport has for business."
The interview, which is the first instalment in a series, can be found here.