Finding opportunities to play sport and get physically active will become easier thanks to a groundbreaking new programme that launched today.
The OpenActive Accelerator, a revolutionary initiative run by us and the Open Data Institute (ODI), has selected 10 startups that will spend the next six months developing new services – including apps and websites – to help people discover events and clubs in their local area.
10 Startups will develop new services
Currently much of the information about what, where and when activities take place is hidden away on old-fashioned websites, social media groups, PDFs or printed flyers.
The new services will use OpenActive data, published by sport and activity providers in the same standard format, to bring opportunities - such as exploring a park to solve a murder mystery or a website to find a race near you - to users’ fingertips.
When travel operators unlocked their data several years ago, it transformed the experience for holidaymakers, and OpenActive aims to do the same for the sport and activity sector to help more people get active.
More than a quarter of the population in England are inactive, which means they do less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week, and this can take a big toll on their health and quality of life.
This is an exciting time for the sport and physical activity industry
Jeni Tennison, CEO of the ODI, said the technology would make it much easier for users to find what they are looking for and discover opportunities they may otherwise have missed.
“This is an exciting time for the sport and physical activity industry,” she added. “By supporting these startups, we are advancing the role of data and technology in the sport and physical activity sector, and helping people get more active.
“People struggle to find time to take part in activities or are not able to find an activity which suits their abilities. The OpenActive Accelerator brings some of the most creative minds in data and technology together with rich data sets to create services that can help encourage more people to get more active.”
Sport England's Allison Savich said she hoped programme would be especially helpful to those who had traditionally been less likely to engage in physical activity.
“The 10 startups will be supported to put people’s needs first when designing their products, appreciating that a mum taking her first steps into activity will need something different than someone looking for a personal trainer to help prepare for their 10th marathon.
“We will share behavioural insights with the startups and support them to use the data that fits people’s lifestyles. We believe this will reduce one of the main barriers for people trying to get active.”