Forecasting football participation

Challenge

Performance funding with Sport England related to football participation levels, which were seeing unexplained declines amongst adults. Benchmarks of participation were previously estimated, rather than forecasted. Bonamy Finch were asked to provide a more robust estimate of future football participation as well as quantify the factors driving changes in participation levels across key demographic groups to help inform investment strategy.

Solution

A variety of data streams were combined into a powerful modelling approach. These included Regional composition; Weather data; Facilities provision; Social media KPIs and Financial Investment figures. All these were modelled against Sport England’s Active People Survey which measures the number of people participating in different sports.

Result

The model was really strong – it explained 96% of variation in participation levels. The sporting association is making good ongoing use of this fantastic model to forecast scenarios ultimately impacting future participation levels. In doing so, they are able to make clear evidence based decisions to inform investment strategy, and plan tactical interventions to drive sport participation.

Bonamy Finch built a very accurate model from a number of diverse and initially difficult data sources. Their ability to take this complex data set and present this to a wide group of stakeholders in easily understandable yet impactful way has meant that the findings and actions from the project have influenced the way we are approaching our planning for the next funding cycle.

Ross AntrobusHead of Consumer Insight, The Football Association