DD2084 World Series Boxing 2017

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
16 February 2017
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

This document seeks approval to commit up to £75,000 from the Major Sports Events Fund towards the delivery of the 2017 edition of World Series Boxing, focused on the delivery of the three British Lionhearts group stage fixtures to be held at York Hall between March and April 2017. 

Approval is also sought for a further £25,000 to assist with staging costs should the British Team advance to the knockout stages of the tournament.


That the Executive Director approves:

•    expenditure of up to £75,000 in grant funding and entry into a funding agreement with the British Amateur Boxing Association trading as GB Boxing to contribute towards the delivery of 2017 World Series Boxing

•    an additional sum up to £25,000 in grant funding for assistance with staging costs for the World Series Boxing 2017 knockout rounds, should the British Team advance to these stages. 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1     Background

1.1.1    The success of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has cemented London’s position as a world-leading host of major sporting events. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has added significantly to the range of world class sporting facilities available for hosting events in London. A key part of the on-going legacy of London 2012 is ensuring that these facilities and others around London be regularly and fully made use of.

1.1.2    London has already secured a portfolio of additional events for the years ahead that will help sustain our position as a world-leading host and is in keeping with the stated legacy aims from London 2012, one of which is to ensure that the facilities built for the Games continue to be used to stage high-level international sporting events. They include the 2015 Rugby World Cup, 2015 European Hockey Championships, 2015 Formula E Championships, 2016 European Swimming Championships, 2016 Track Cycling World Championships, 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships and IPC World Athletics Championships. 

1.1.3    Recognising that most major sporting events require some level of public support, the GLA allocated £2.4 million over four years to future major sporting events as part of the 2014/15 budget setting process. This Major Sports Events Fund supports the GLA’s major sporting events strategy for London, ‘London: Home of World Class Sport’, which was published in April 2014. 

1.1.4    This London-wide approach to bidding for and supporting major sporting events establishes the Mayor’s Office as the first point of call for anyone looking to bring their event to London, and firmly establishes the Mayor’s Office as London’s strategic lead for major sporting events.

1.2       World Series Boxing

1.2.1    World Series Boxing (WSB) is an annual competition that pits national teams from 16 leading boxing nations against each other. It is the premium world circuit event for boxing, with 29 of the 40 boxing medals available at Rio 2016 won by WSB athletes. Great Britain is represented by the British Lionhearts (a franchise of the event, owned and operated by GB Boxing).

1.2.2    This year, the British Lionhearts have been drawn in a group with France, Italy and Morocco. The British Lionhearts will have home and away matches against each of these three opponents, with the top two teams from the group qualifying for the knockout stages.

1.2.3    The three home matches will be staged at York Hall, in Bethnal Green, considered the spiritual home of boxing in London. All matches will be broadcast live on BoxNation, and it is also expected that the feed will be picked up in a number of other countries. Further information on this will be provided as it becomes available.

1.2.4    A request was made by GB Boxing to the GLA to provide a contribution of up to £75,000 towards the costs of staging the three group stage matches at York Hall. This funding would be used to cover a range of costs, including venue overlay, logistics, marketing, and communications. In exchange for our investment, the GLA would draw significant association with both World Series Boxing and the British team itself.

1.2.5    A key strength of the proposal from GB Boxing was to use the event as a platform for developing a significant community engagement programme around the event. The GLA Sports Team has long been seeking the right platform for helping take forward grass-roots boxing in London and it is felt that World Series Boxing provides an ideal opportunity.

1.2.6    The application submitted by GB Boxing also set out how the event would satisfy the evaluation criteria set out in the GLA’s Major Sports Events Strategy, “London: Home of World Class Sport”.

1.2.7    Evaluated against the criteria, it was deemed that: 

•    the Economic Impact of the event falls below our minimum expectation; 
•    the International and Domestic Broadcast proposal for the event was evaluated as bronze. 
•    the Community Engagement proposal for the event was evaluated as silver. 

1.2.8    The strongest element of the application is the community engagement proposal. This was also the case in 2016 and England Boxing (the national governing body of grassroots boxing) delivered strongly against their initial proposal. The 2016 project is due to complete in February 2017 and, to date, more than 2,500 Londoners have participated, with six new boxing hubs set up and 250 community coaches and volunteers trained. England Boxing has proposed to replicate and expand the project into new areas in London alongside the 2017 WSB.

1.2.9    Any grant award for event staging would be conditional on sufficient resource being secured to satisfy our requirements around community engagement. Furthermore it should be noted that, given the success of the 2016 community project, should the GLA Sports Team be awarded additional budget for community sports programmes, we would look to make a grant contribution towards the 2017 project. 

1.2.10    In addition to the direct benefits to be accrued by the proposed community programme, it should be noted that boxing has a track record of engaging with a diverse demographic audience in London. Boxing in London attracts significant proportions of BAME participants and event audiences, and routinely attracts interest from people from lower socio-economic backgrounds. UK Sport maintains that the WSB is one of the most effective events in the UK at reaching out to these groups. 

1.2.11    In addition to the £75,000 contribution to the group stages of the event, £25,000 has been requested to contribute to staging costs of further knockout rounds, should the British team progress through the competition. 

1.2.12    The proposed GLA grant award would contribute towards a total event budget of c£600,000. GB Boxing has been successful in their approach to UK Sport for a grant funding contribution at a similar level to that requested of the GLA. Any UK Sport award is conditional on confirmed support by the GLA. Likewise, any GLA award would be conditional on UK Sport also contributing towards delivery of the event.

1.2.13    The GLA provided £75,000 to GB Boxing from the Major Sports Events Engagement Fund (part of the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme) towards staging of the 2016 group stage fixtures, approved by DD1464. The GLA approved a further £25,000 to England Boxing in grant funding from the Major Sports Events Engagement Fund, approved by DD1335, as a contribution to its costs of delivering a grassroots community legacy project associated with the 2016 World Series Boxing Event. GB Boxing relied heavily on the underwrite provided by AIBA (the international federation and owner of WSB) to present a balanced budget, and similar support is being sought from AIBA in 2017; any GLA award would be conditional on GB Boxing securing a full event underwrite. 

1.2.14    We are working with GB Boxing and UK Sport to move the event to a more sustainable financial model, but for 2017 we propose maintaining funding at the same level as 2016, with additional resource should the GB Team progress to the knockout rounds. One area we are pursuing is to explore the feasibility of taking a potential knockout round fixture to the Copper Box at QEOP, which would see a significant increase in spectator capacity (colleagues at LLDC are supportive and will work with GB Boxing on feasibility).

1.2.15    The GLA Events Steering Group (GESG) approved this proposal following its meeting of 07 December 2016.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1          The objectives of the proposed funding are to:

•    Support the successful hosting of World Series Boxing 2017;
•    Support delivery of the GLA’s major sports events strategy, ‘London: Home of World Class Sport’;
•    Increase economic investment into London;
•    Increase international exposure of London;
•    Increase opportunities for Londoners to participate in sport and physical exercise programmes associated with major sporting events;
•    Increase opportunities for Londoners to volunteer at a major sporting events;


Equality comments

3.1.    Every major event that seeks financial support from the GLA must demonstrate how the event will engage with the local community, in line with the Mayor’s grassroots sport policy, ‘A Sporting Future for London’ and the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme.

3.2    An equalities impact assessment has previously been undertaken on the overall Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme.

3.3    According to Sport England Active People survey (APS 8 published in January 2015), levels of participation in sport and physical activity are variable across different socio-demographic groups in London. Across all 33 London Boroughs, average figures indicate that 43% of men participate in sport at least once a week compared to 32% of women. 37% of Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) people participate weekly compared to 39% of people of white origin. 19% of disabled people participate weekly compared to 40% of non-disabled people. 17% of people over the age of 65 participate weekly compared to 52% of those between the age of 16 and 25. 41% of people from socio-economic groups 1 to 4 participate weekly compared to 25% of people from socio-economic groups 5-8 (based on the National Statistics Socio-economic classification system).

3.4    Sports programmes supported by the Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme engage significant numbers of women, disabled people, BAME people and people from lower socio-economic groups, both via sports participation programmes and training opportunities. We are seeking to increase participation opportunities for these groups through the Major Sports Events Engagement Fund that this event has also bid to.

Other considerations

4.1     Key Risks and Issues



Likelihood / Impact

Response & Mitigation


That the event does not deliver against London’s key strategic objectives

Medium / Low

The evaluation process undertaken in order to determine city support for events is robust and thorough.


Assumptions made in GB Boxing’s proposal were tested and challenged by the GLA and partners prior to deciding to offer financial support in order to ensure confidence that the event is likely to deliver on its claims.


The GLA is represented on the event steering group to oversee operational delivery.


Another funding partner withdraws support, or projected commercial income is not realised, putting the event at risk, and thereby exposing the Mayor/GLA to reputational risk.

Low / Low

Prior to committing GLA funding, a comprehensive and robust event budget with evidence of commitment from a range of public and private sector partners was submitted, thereby ensuring that the risk is spread.


UK Sport are standing strongly behind the event, and there is an underwrite in place form the National Governing Body. GLA funding is conditional on UK Sport also contributing towards delivery of the event


Reputational risk of the event failing to sell all tickets and broadcasting pictures of the venue internationally with empty seats.

Low / Low

GB Boxing and its partners have a strong track record of attracting spectators to York Hall. The 2016 edition of the event managed to fill the venue – through a mixture of paid for and free tickets – with very little lead-in time. The more structured approach being taken this year gives confidence that strong ticket sales will be achieved.


4.2     Links to Mayoral Strategies & Priorities

GLA support for the event will:
•    support delivery of the GLA’s major sports events strategy, ‘London: Home of World Class Sport’;
•    support the aims of ‘Inclusive and Active 2’ strategy for increasing participation in sport and physical activity amongst disabled people in London; 
•    support delivery of the GLA’s grassroots sport policy, ‘A Sporting Future for London’;
•    assist in meeting the objectives of the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy; 
•    promote social development in London;
•    assist the GLA in delivering their commitment to a lasting sports legacy following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 
•    support the Mayor’s priorities around volunteering and his Team London programme.

4.3     Impact Assessments and Consultations

4.3.1     An equalities impact assessment has previously been undertaken on the overall Mayor’s Sports Legacy Programme. Further information is available at Section 3 of this document.

4.3.2     In writing ‘A Sporting Future for London’, the GLA Sports Unit consulted extensively with over 400 individuals from over 100 different groups and organisations including national governing bodies of sport, the Pro-Active Partnerships, senior representatives from local authorities and a wide variety of sports clubs and community organisations. 

4.3.3     The conclusions reached received broad support from all key stakeholders and reaction to the plan itself has been very positive.

4.3.4    In writing ‘London: Home of World Class Sport’, the GLA Sports Unit consulted extensively with various national governing bodies of sport in the UK, Sport England, UK Sport, London Sport, relevant Local Authorities, LLDC, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, London & Partners, sports venue owners in London and Transport for London. The strategy has been greatly welcomed by all key London stakeholders and partners, as well as the key national agencies identified above.

Financial comments

5.1    The expenditure of £75,000 in grant funding to GB Boxing to contribute towards the delivery of 2017 World Series Boxing will be funded from the Major Sports Events budget.

5.2    An additional commitment of £25,000 in grant funding is also required for assistance with staging costs for the World Series Boxing 2017 knockout rounds, should the British Team advance to these stages. This will also be funded from Major Sports Events budget.

5.3    Any changes to this proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to further approval via the Authorities decision-making process. All appropriate budget adjustments will be made.

5.4    The Sports Unit within Communities & Intelligence Directorate will be responsible for managing the GLA’s activities relating to this proposal and ensuring that all the GLA’s expenditure complies with the Authority’s Financial Regulations and Contracts & Funding Code.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

7.1    The GLA Sports Team is working closely with GB Boxing and other stakeholders to ensure effective planning for the event. 

7.2    The GLA is represented on the event stakeholder board which oversees:

•    The event budget; 
•    The event marketing and communications strategy; 
•    The event ticketing strategy 
•    Planning and operational delivery of the event; 

7.3    The Event will take place between March and April 2017.

7.4    Next steps are as follows:



DD Signed

February 2017

Funding Agreement signed

February 2017

Event delivery

March 2017

Event monitoring report submitted

June 2017