From Headingley to Hoylake and Wimbledon to Wembley, 2023 has been a summer of sport to remember.
We’ve been spoilt by one of the greatest ever Ashes series, inspired by Brian Harman’s dominate win at The Open (covered by our Sportsbeat colleagues for the R&A), captivated by an epic grass-court tennis season (Sportsbeat worked with the LTA on their news syndication) and are now cheering on England at the Women’s World Cup, part of our colleague’s work with the Football Association.
Plus much more in F1, athletics, rugby league and others.
And yet we still have big events to come with the AIG Women’s Open, the Rugby World Cup and Commonwealth Youth Games and World Athletics Championships in Budapest – plus the domestic football and rugby seasons are about to start again.
There is so much to talk about but it hasn’t all been about the action, has it? What will future summers of sport look like?
We have cricket franchises being discussed in the US, some of the world’s leading footballers heading to Saudi Arabia, and the future of golf up in the air following the PGA-LIV merger. What will it all mean for our sports and the next generations? Will it be good, bad or indifferent?
It’s fascinating to follow the developments in football, cricket and golf and consider the knock-on effect from the top to the grassroots. Will it offer fresh opportunities for youngsters, or will it make their progression more difficult and dreams harder to achieve?
It’s unlikely anyone knows the answer to that and there are stars throughout sport who care deeply about the future and fight hard for it to try and ensure future generations have that same opportunity.
Standing still is not an option in sport. Progress and development are absolutely required but collaboration is going to be key to protect its future, and ensure that pathways are still in place for the next Ben Stokes, Tommy Fleetwood and Leah Williamson.
What about the next Adam Peaty or Hannah Miley? Swimming pools across the UK are under threat with many councils starting to close the local public facilities. This should not be allowed to happen. Not only will it harm our prospects of developing future stars but swimming is a critical life skill for kids to learn.
We NEED to work together. NGBs, athletes, commercial partners, media and key stakeholders are crucial in ensuring that our future summers of sports are as enthralling as ever, and have British-based athletes inspiring the next generation.
PRTNR’S Greg McEwan helped grow The Open’s revenues across ticketing, successfully selling out the event for the first time in its history at Royal Portrush and new record-breaking crowds at Royal Birkdale and Carnoustie. He led the communications strategy for Bank of Scotland’s sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics and SSE’s award-winning partnership with the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.