What is the core market?

The core market describes a group of people who are regularly active

Group playing hockey

Our research shows that a third of the adult population already have a genuine sport and physical activity habit. For these people, being active is a big part of their lives and identity. This is what we call sport’s core market.

This habit enhances their quality of life, giving them confidence, improving their wellbeing and helping to connect them to other people. Yet we know that even when people have built a strong habit, we cannot take their activity for granted. Even for the most committed, big moments in life can get in the way of sport and activity habits.


A serious injury or illness, children starting school, starting college or university, moving house, a new baby, changing jobs and retirement are all major practical and emotional parts of people’s lives that can affect their habits.

Some people find their way back into the routine, but many find it tough to get active again in a way that fits their new circumstances.

There is under-representation in the core market – research tells us those who are from lower socio-economic groups, women, people with a limiting disability and those aged 55 and over are less likely to have a regular habit and be in the core market. We also know these people tend to drop out more.

In short, the sector isn't meeting the needs of certain people.

What we want to achieve

It’s for these reasons that we want to support active people. We want to work with, invest in and learn from partners to better understand what can be done to help these individuals stay active for as long as they want to, whatever happens in their lives.

We want the projects that we invest in to lead to a reduction in the number of regularly active people who stop doing sport and physical activity.

Projects should be designed to achieve the aims of the fund and to also contribute to some or all of the Government outcomes that we think sport and physical activity can achieve. These are set out in the Government’s sport strategy, Sporting Future: physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, individual development, social and community development and economic development.

As a result, the aims for this fund are to:

  • Keep active people active – the ‘core market’
  • Focus on life changes
  • Help support those who are more prone to drop out

Under-representation in the sector is a priority for us. We want a sport sector that welcomes everyone, meets their needs, treats them as individuals and values them as customers, so our priority will be in helping these people.