Sports Construction Market returns to growth

Sports Construction Market returns to growth

Following a few years of falling output levels, the sports construction market has seen a return to growth in 2016 and 2017, mainly underpinned by increased levels of activity in the professional sports sector, with several football clubs undertaking major stadium extensions and/or new training facilities schemes.

As a result, AMA Research estimates that the sports construction market was worth over £1.5 billion in 2017.

The education segment typically accounts for around 30% of the total sports construction market. This is partly because the UK’s education sports estate is extremely large with schools accounting for a substantial proportion of the total numbers of swimming pools, sports halls and pitches UK-wide.

There were marked increases in output in the education sub-sector in 2015 and 2016, where there has been an overall increase in average project values, although the number of projects has remained relatively static. Over the medium term, growth prospects in this sector are expected to remain reasonable, reflecting the requirement for Academy schools to offer good facilities to attract students.

Output in the professional sports sub-sector also increased in 2016 and 2017, driven by renewed growth in stadium construction output, mainly for a few Premier League and EFL Championship clubs. Professional football club developments account for the largest share of construction output in this sub-sector, accounting for just under 40% of professional sports construction output by value.

Future prospects for the professional sports construction sector are positive up until 2021, with growth rates expected to increase. While the White Hart Lane, Stamford Bridge and Everton developments are ‘flagship’ schemes, there are a significant number of other reasonably high-value football stadium projects that should sustain growth over the medium term, subject to approval.

Leisure and sports centre construction also accounts for a similar share of output to the professional sports sector, but growth has been constrained slightly by cuts to local authority budgets. However, in 2016 and 2017 there appears to have been some improvement. Over the medium term, construction output will probably decrease due to ongoing pressures on local authority budgets and the continued uncertain economic situation.

The remainder of the market is made up of semi-professional, amateur and recreational sport facility construction. In 2017, construction activity within this sub-sector was at the highest level in over a decade. This largely reflects relatively significant growth in investment by semi-professional clubs in the top leagues of semi-professional football and rugby clubs and by local authorities in sports facilities other than sports & leisure centres.

For 2018, we forecast growth to continue in the overall sports construction market, the main reason for this being the first year of the £800m re-development of Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane stadium. Beyond 2018 it is very difficult to forecast annual output levels based on planning approvals, with several recent major proposals later being overturned. However, there should be a substantial increase in output over the period 2019-2020 should major projects such as the re-development of Chelsea FCs and Everton new stadiums start next year, which seems to be likely at this stage.

The ‘Construction in the Sports Sector Report - UK 2017-2021 Analysis' report is published by AMA Research, and is available now and can be ordered online.

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