Demand for playing sport increases by 720%

This article was provided by Playfinder

Playfinder, a sports booking platform that connects amateur sports players to over 5,200 sports facilities across the UK, has seen a 720% increase in players trying to make a booking since Boris Johnson’s latest announcement on the 10th May.

The Government’s new 5 step plan to ease the nation out of lockdown meant that we could now partake in household exercise, or with one person from a different household abiding by the social distancing guidelines. Since then, Playfinder has also seen phones ringing off the hook and rising by a huge 640%.

The first step of the plan has given people their first chance to get back to playing sport, with sports including tennis, golf and basketball now allowed to be played. Of the interest Playfinder has seen for different sports, 65% have been for tennis, 25% for basketball and 10% for golf.

Playfinder’s mission is to make it easier for everyone to play sport, and to increase the utilisation of venues as a result. Many are missing out on their daily kick of the ball or swing of the racket.

In the UK, seven out of ten firms have furloughed staff, meaning communication with some of these venues is not often easy. Staff at Playfinder have been making calls up and down the country seeking those who have reopened their courts to the public.

New Lockdown Status feature

However, as a result of staff remaining on furlough and operational challenges in the post-pandemic world, a majority of tennis and basketball facilities remain closed. Envisaging an unpredictable road ahead for venues opening, Playfinder has launched a ‘Lockdown Status’ filter which only presents sports players with facilities that have been reopened. This new feature will be regularly updated to show venues as they reopen.

Playfinder removes booking fees to help venues

The challenges and pressures the pandemic has presented to the grassroots community cannot be compared to anything before, with the recovery looking long and uncertain. In response, Playfinder has decided to waive booking fees for venues to help them get back up and running, meaning they pay no commission on bookings. This applies to both existing and new venues that join, with a surge in demand seen in operators trying to join the platform.

Jamie Foale, cofounder and CEO of Playfinder, said, “We’ve seen a crazy amount of demand for people to get back out and play sport. We knew there would be a lot of pent up demand and so it is proving to be. Unfortunately, many venues have not been able to reopen yet so we have launched a new feature which enables players to search specifically for ones that have. We also want to give sports venues every resource possible to get back on their feet, so we have decided to waive booking fees so they can get maximum value from their customers during this tricky period.”

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