The summer of 2024 promises to be a spectacular season for sport, with excitement bubbling for the Paris Olympic Games — now under a month away — alongside other major sporting events including Wimbledon, the T20 World Cup, the British Open, and of course the next stages of the Euros.

As the world gears up for the Paris Olympics, which kicks off on July 26, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have launched their ‘Let’s Move and Celebrate’ campaign, an ongoing initiative introduced last year in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), to encourage people of all ages to get active and embrace movement and sport in their daily lives.

“Athletes from all corners of the world and backgrounds are getting ready to participate in the Olympic Games Paris 2024,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “The athletes will inspire and encourage people everywhere to bring more movement to their lives, making it healthier, better and more joyful.” 

WATCH: As part of Let’s Move and Celebrate, everyone is encouraged to show their support for athletes at the Games by creating, or recreating, their own iconic celebration moves, and sharing them online with @Olympics and #LetsMove.

In 2023, the campaign saw more than 15 million people embrace the joy of movement, incorporating 30 minutes of daily physical activity into their lives.

The power of sport for improving health and wellbeing

Research by WHO has revealed that over 30% of adults and 80% of adolescents don’t currently meet the recommended levels of physical activity, costing public healthcare systems an estimated US $27 billion (£21.3 bn) a year. Global targets have been set to reduce physical inactivity by 10% for adults and 15% for adolescents by 2030, from the 2010 baseline.

Several studies have shown that people are more likely to maintain consistent exercise routines when their activities are enjoyable and accessible, which is why sport, dance and other fun activities that get us moving, is a natural, inclusive solution to tackling this global issue.

COMING SOON: LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PROGRAMME, ‘SPORT: THE BUSINESS GAME

Celebrating sport as a tool for social change

Beyond the medals and the spectacle, the Olympic Games and other sporting events have a profound ability to bring people together, promote diversity and inclusion, and create lasting change in lives and communities.

Sport has the power to transcend cultural, social, and economic boundaries, creating a universal language that fosters mutual respect. Events like the Olympics highlight how sport can provide a platform for cultural exchange and understanding; helping break down prejudices and promote social change.

Initiatives like the Paralympic Games and Special Olympics showcase the achievements of athletes with disabilities, challenging stereotypes and promoting inclusivity. 

These events demonstrate how sport can empower marginalised groups, providing opportunities for participation and recognition, while reminding us of the huge value that community and grassroots sports initiatives play in making sport accessible to everyone. 

A growing number of international players and world-class athletes are championing sports programs to inspire more people to get into sport. Sport for Alll’ is an initiative that’s been spearheaded by former England netball star Serena Guthrie, which is taking place in Jersey on 26 August.

The event aims to encourage people to try a variety of sports, regardless of their ability level. Jersey native Serena Guthrie, who won gold for England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, said everyone should have the chance to take part in sport.

“Sport for Alll is inspired by a desire to create a more inclusive and active community. It’s about removing barriers and making sport accessible to all, regardless of age, ability, background or circumstance,” she said.

The role of sport in boosting mental health and life skills

Sport can transform lives by teaching valuable life skills such as teamwork, discipline, and resilience, while boosting self-esteem and confidence, especially among young people. Programs that integrate sports into education often see improved academic performance and social skills among students.

Of course, it’s not just the young who reap the benefits of sport; people of all ages see extraordinary improvements to their health and wellbeing through embracing different types of activity; and it’s never too late to try something new.

A report published this week by the University of Bristol, in partnership with The Wave, highlighted the health benefits of sport; specifically the impact of surfing on mental health. The UK Surfing and Health Report revealed a positive relationship between increased frequency of surfing and better mental wellbeing, with surfers like 60-year-old Julian Roe describing their surfing hobby as completely life-changing.

A further study into the impact of “blue health” starts in autumn at the University of Bristol, in hope to uncover more evidence that being in or near water benefits human health.

Be inspired by the biggest sporting events of summer 2024

While the Paris Olympics are undoubtedly the centrepiece of this summer’s sporting calendar, several other high-profile events are captivating fans worldwide. Here are some key dates for your diaries:

  1. The T20 World Cup: June 4 – June 30, 2024
    The T20 World Cup will see the best cricket teams from around the world competing in the fast-paced Twenty20 format, promising exciting matches and intense competition.
  2. UEFA Euro 2024: June 14 – July 14, 2024
    Hosted in Germany, the European Football Championship is bringing together the continent’s top national teams for a month of thrilling soccer. The tournament’s passionate fan-base and high-stakes matches ensure it remains one of the most-watched sporting events around the world.
  3. Tour de France: June 29 – July 21, 2024
    The world’s most famous cycling race, which starts in Florence, Italy, and concludes in Paris, will see elite cyclists tackling grueling stages through breathtaking landscapes. The Tour de France is not only a test of endurance and strategy but also a celebration of the sport’s rich heritage.
  4. Wimbledon Championships: July 1 – July 14, 2024
    As one of tennis’s four Grand Slam tournaments, Wimbledon holds a special place in the hearts of sports fans. The 2024 Championships promise to deliver dramatic matches on the iconic grass courts, featuring the sport’s biggest stars.
  5. MLB All-Star Game: July 16, 2024
    In the US, baseball fans will turn their attention to the MLB All-Star Game, where the league’s top players will compete in a mid-season showcase of talent and entertainment.
  6. The British Open: July 18 – July 21, 2024
    Known as The Open Championship, this prestigious golf tournament is the oldest of the four major championships in professional golf, and attracts the best golfers from around the world.
  7. Formula 1 Grand Prix: Key dates; the British Grand Prix on July 7, the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 21, and the Belgian Grand Prix on August 25, 2024.
    The Formula 1 season continues with several races during the summer, attracting motorsport fans worldwide. Each Grand Prix offers high-speed thrills and showcases the pinnacle of automotive technology and driving skill.

Explore our upcoming sports programme

Sport is a cornerstone of the global economy, generating billions in revenue annually and creating countless jobs worldwide. As a thriving business sector, it not only fuels economic growth but also fosters innovation, drives investment, and shapes cultural identity, making it an integral part of the modern marketplace.

Sport: The Business Game will delve into the thriving ecosystem surrounding the sports industry, focusing on the key players who supply, support, and enable sports activities globally. From equipment manufacturers to technology innovators and logistics providers, and through case study led features the programme will highlight the network of organisations driving the business of sports forward. We will explore how these entities facilitate sports events and infrastructure, ensuring smooth operations and accessibility. With a spotlight on innovation, diversity, sustainability, and community impact, we will demonstrate the pivotal role these organisations play in shaping the future of sports.

There are commercial opportunities for leading organisations to be featured in the programme and spearhead their own news item. If your organisation wants to share what you stand for and be part of this important conversation about the business of sport, please contact Programming Director Jamie Connolly.