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21st March 2022

PubAid and Sky launch search for Grassroots Sports Champions

New programme to reward pubs who support local sport

PubAid and Sky are joining forces on a new programme to recognise and reward the countless pubs across the country who support grassroots sport.

The Grassroots Sports Champion programme is open to any pub involved in local sport, whether they host a pool or darts side, sponsor a football team or put on a post-match spread for the cricket side.  Pubs can join at no cost, and, once enrolled, will receive a free marketing pack of staff T-shirts and window stickers to help them shout about their support for the sports that are so important to local communities.

According to a survey by PubAid1, pubs contribute £40m every year to grassroots sport, either through direct sponsorship or donations, or in-kind support. With a lack of funding the biggest challenge for many local teams, pubs are providing a lifeline that helps clubs to stay afloat and enables thousands of people to play the sport they love.

Des O’Flanagan, PubAid co-founder said: “The extent of pubs’ involvement in grassroots sport is impressive, and an indicator of their support for the communities in which they trade.

“We have long championed pubs’ charity fundraising, estimated at £100m+ a year, and their incredible work, highlighted during lockdown, to help those in need locally. Now, we are turning a spotlight on another aspect of their community support and looking forward to welcoming pubs across the country as Grassroots Sports Champions.”

Damian Saunders, Managing Director, Sky Business TV said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Grassroots Sports Champions. Sports clubs are, like pubs, at the heart of their communities and contribute to social cohesion in their locality.

“We are keen for as many pubs as possible to become Grassroots Sports Champions. It doesn’t matter whether your pub sponsors half a dozen local teams or provides free refreshments for one darts side, the support provided by pubs for all grassroots sports deserves recognition in this programme.”

Grassroots Sports Champions comes at a time when Sky is highlighting the vital role that pubs play in their community through their Everyone Loves A Local campaign. Running throughout 2022, the campaign puts local pubs in the spotlight with sports fans as well as giving pubs access to unique experiences which can only be delivered by Sky including footfall driving activations and customer rewards.

Becoming a Grassroots Sports Champion is completely free of charge to pubs, and easy. To apply, just visit the dedicated website and complete a short form about your pub and your support for grassroots sport.

According to PubAid’s research, football is the sport with the most support from pubs (40%) followed by darts and pool (30%), cricket (16%), rugby union (10%) and rugby league (4%). However, the range of sports supported by pubs is far broader, from skittles, netball, bowls and kickboxing to the little-known Bat & Trap (a distant cousin of cricket).

1 Pubs & Sport, The Perfect Match, based on a survey of 1,400 pubs conducted June – September 2018. To read the report, visit the PubAid website


Notes to editors

PubAid is a working party created in 2009 to promote UK pubs as a force for good in their communities, sharing the message that they raise over £100m per year for charities and contribute a further £40 million to grassroots sport.

The PubAid steering group is led by co-founder Des O’Flanagan and includes a number of well-known figures from the pub world, who lend their time and other resources to help spread the positive messages about pubs’ role at the heart of their communities.

Sky is the leading provider of entertainment and communication services which is built on over 30 years of market transformation and innovation. 

Sky Business is the business-to-business division of Sky, providing a wide variety of commercial premises across the UK and ROI, by connecting and entertaining millions of people every day – from unmissable live sport, unrivalled entertainment and breaking news, to the best drama and comedy, documentaries and films.

Press release issued on behalf of:PubAid

By:ShielPorter Communications

Further / 07841 694137