3A: Needs analysis

When planning for sport and for any business it’s vital to get a baseline of demand for your services

Section 3 progress

It’s also important to map any other local services and activities, identify gaps and possible competition and partners. Even facilities that are currently in use will benefit from a needs analysis to test assumptions about demand and also projections about increases in use under new management.

Don’t ignore answers you don’t like – and use the feedback to modify your ideas

If you are considering a new area of business or a new service, for example a café, sports coaching or room hire, talk to your potential customers and find out whether they would be interested in using the new service, what they would pay and how often they would use it.

Don’t ignore answers you don’t like and use the feedback to modify your ideas.

A site is most likely to be considered for transfer if there is an argument to say that:

  • It is currently underused but there is clear potential for growth in usage
  • It could be more efficiently or effectively run by a community based organisation, e.g. increasing opening hours, lowering overall costs and/or increasing the total numbers or types of people who would use it
  • Transferring it to a community based organisation would also achieve other community benefits, e.g. by widening the demographic profile of users or improving physical activity in an area of poor health.

Advice and guidance

Sport England has good advice here for local authorities about how to carry out needs assessments and plan for future sport needs which fits with the Government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

A market segmentation model has been designed to help understand the life stages and attitudes of different population groups – and the sporting interventions most likely to engage them.

You can find useful advice about undertaking market research here.

MyCommunity has advice and guidance on using existing data to understand your community better.

Just Act has some useful resources on different ways to survey and consult your local community.

Sports specific marketing and promotion plans as well as sports development plans can be downloaded from most national governing bodies' websites.

Active People Survey

This survey, which is one of the largest surveys of sport ever undertaken, provides a detailed picture of current sports participation in a local area.

The Active People Diagnostic tool is an online reporting and analysis resource which gives access to Active People Survey results.

It is a powerful tool and can be used by local sports bodies to better understand sports participation in their local area.

Sports Market Segmentation

  • Sports Market Segmentation is a web based tool developed by Sport England to help all those delivering sport to better understand their local markets and target them more effectively.
  • Sport England has split the adult population into 19 segments or types, based on their: age; gender and socio-demographic information, and overlaid sporting activity and preferences, to show the sporting habits of each segment, their motivations to play sport, satisfaction with the sporting experience, the sports they currently play and would like to play and factors that could encourage them to do more sport. Click here for more information.
Community: Is there a proven need and demand for the sports facility and the services you propose?
Community: Have you engaged and consulted the local community in a creative and open way to find innovative ideas?
Community: Has a similar facility been visited to compare use and demand assumptions?