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Eight sports-based businesses to start in 2024

If you love sport, running a start-up inspired by your passion could be a rewarding move – both personally and financially.

Whether you love watching sports or getting involved as an athlete, why not channel your enthusiasm into a business idea?

Sport and physical activity contribute £39 billion to the UK economy opens in new window with a wide variety of sports played, watched, and enjoyed at professional and amateur levels, so getting in on the action could be a smart business proposition.

By running your own sports start-up, you could enjoy the benefits of being your own boss – increased flexibility, greater control over decision-making, and higher job satisfaction.


Why choose a sports-related business?

There’s nothing better than doing a job you love, and with an existing interest in sport, you could make your passion profitable.

Interest in health and fitness has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, which is believed to be a result of the negative physical and mental impact on the UK.

79% of the UK population opens in new window believe that their health has become more important to them over the last three years, with adult activity levels returning to pre-pandemic levels opens in new window.

You could start your sports business from scratch or buy an established sports-related franchise.

We’ve listed eight different sports-related business ideas to inspire you.


Eight sports-based business ideas

1. Become a personal trainer

If you’re passionate about exercise and want to help others reach their fitness targets, you might consider becoming a PT or running a team of trainers.

In 2022, there were over 25,000 registered personal trainers opens in new window in the UK, an increase of 10,000 since 2011, contributing to an industry worth £635.5 million opens in new window.

As a personal trainer, you could have complete flexibility over your working hours, making accommodating clients with busy lifestyles easier.

To become a successful trainer, you may wish to obtain a Level 2 fitness instructor certification opens in new window and may need a vehicle to transport your equipment safely.

Get started with our guide on how to start a personal training business opens in new window.


2. Launch a sports nutrition clinic

A sports nutrition clinic provides athletes with tailored dietary advice to help them improve their performance and manage their overall nutritional health.

If you would like a better insight into nutrition, you could consider an Association for Nutrition (AfN) Certified course. opens in new window

Before becoming a Registered Nutritionist, you will need relevant qualifications – find out more on the UK government website opens in new window.

It is essential to be aware of any restrictions about giving dietary or nutrition advice to others, as this is a regulated industry.

You may also decide to join the UK Voluntary Register of Nutritionists opens in new window to give your start-up more credibility and increase client trust.

Depending on your start-up budget and qualifications, you may decide to set up a clinic employing professional nutritionists or work alone with private clients.


3. Set up a fitness centre

If you feel there is a market for a fitness centre in your area, you could provide a variety of offerings, including physiotherapy, team sports, individual training, and kids’ sports camps.

By offering a range of services, you can meet the needs of local customers who want to get into shape, scaling services to meet demand opens in new window, and increasing the chances of your business succeeding.

To run a fitness centre for your local community, you would need secure premises that meet building regulations and knowledge of health and safety requirements, as well as equipment, trained staff opens in new window, and changing facilities.

One option could be to look into franchise opportunities offered by an existing fitness chain opens in new window with an established reputation and support network.


4. Start a sports photography company

Do you like to capture people in the moment and have a talent for shooting winning smiles – or goals?

Setting up a sports photography business could be one way to break into the sports arena, providing services to a variety of other companies that need imagery and videography, such as amateur football clubs or swimming teams.

The fast-paced nature of team sports can mean your local teams may be keen to employ skilled photographers to capture their sporting achievements.

Running a start-up offering photography services – whether you are a photographer yourself or managing a team – can mean you shoot a wide variety of sporting events, depending on the season.

To run a sports photography business, you may need to invest in equipment such as cameras and tripods, personal transport, and a digital platform to showcase your talent.

Read our guide to opening a photography business opens in new window.


5. Open a physiotherapy business

A physiotherapist helps those struggling with movement because of an injury or disability using manual therapy, advice, and exercises.

With a particular interest in sports, you could hire your services to teams or other sports businesses, such as fitness centres.

As there is a shortage of physiotherapists opens in new window in the UK, opening a physiotherapy business could help fill a gap in the market while also increasing your chances of business success by meeting demand.

If you’re keen to study to become a physio yourself, the UK government has set out the requirements needed to become a physiotherapist opens in new window.

Bear in mind that It is essential to have a physiotherapist license opens in new window to practice as a physical therapist in the UK.

To open a physiotherapy business, you will need a secure, private location to see clients, as well as exercise equipment.


6. Set up a sports marketing agency

Setting up a sports marketing agency could see you partnering with other sports-related businesses to improve their branding opens in new window and introduce products to their target audience.

If you have a background in marketing opens in new window, focusing on the sports world could be a good way to merge your career with your hobby.

You could also look into general marketing qualifications that cover skills applicable to sports marketing from organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) opens in new window.

Consider approaching sports teams, venues, equipment, sports services, or clothing brands to offer your services.

Once you’ve registered your business, you could set up your new company from home – find government guidance opens in new window on how to do that on the website.


7. Design sportswear

In 2022, the global sportswear market was worth approximately £251.2 billion opens in new window and is predicted to grow further.

Designing sportswear could offer you a creative outlet that also creates practical, profitable products.

You could create a core collection of items but also offer bespoke designs depending on customer demand, such as sports venue uniforms or team kits.

Read our guide on how to start a clothing line opens in new window.


8. Begin a sports collectables business

Selling and sourcing sports memorabilia can be lucrative if you enjoy finding genuine pieces – a World Cup quarter-final shirt worn by Diego Maradona was sold for £7.1 million by Sotheby’s opens in new window in 2022.

Sports fans can be known for their long-lasting loyalty to their teams and players, and sought-after collectables can be highly prized.

Consider investing in an online platform opens in new window to create a storefront for the pieces you’re selling and allow for transactions, as well as sourcing a secure location for your stock.

You may also want to work with an authenticator to ensure the pieces you source are the real deal.


How to start a sports-related business

Before you can open your sports start-up, there are a number of steps you should consider.

As with any start-up, it pays to have a robust but flexible business plan opens in new window in place – download our free template opens in new window.

A business plan can help you create a financial forecast opens in new window, as well as help you decide which type of funding opens in new window suits your company best.

You will also need to register your business opens in new window with HMRC for tax purposes.

No successful start-up is complete without customers – read our guides on how to market your start-up on a budget opens in new window and how to win customers opens in new window.


Learn with Start Up Loans and help get your business off the ground

Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.

Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses opens in new window  include:

Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.


Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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