UK sports clubs set for fifth straight year of growth

494 new sport clubs and gyms have opened in the UK since 2012 as boxing and wrestling drives growth.

People in Britain are trashing the TV takeaway and donning a pair of boxing gloves instead.

That’s according to new data from Euromonitor who forecast the total amount of British sports clubs establishments- which specialise in boxing and wrestling-to rise to 6,587 in 2018. This represents a 10.2 per cent rise across the UK since 2012 (not including major sports clubs such as Premier League clubs).

What’s the opportunity for businesses?

Buoyed by the headline grabbing success of recent multi-million pound fights between the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor, boxing is big business in the UK. The value of the top 10 grossing pay-per-view boxing fights have soared in recent years, in 2015 they were worth around $400 million, up from around $90 million the year before and is showing no signs of dampening. Just this week, British boxer Anthony Joshua claimed he had been offered £36 million to fight American boxer Deontay Wilder.

As its popularity grows amongst the British public, the sector has naturally attracted plenty of investment from major players. Here’s a list of gym and boxing related businesses who have raised or are looking to raise investment.

The Boxing Advantage Company

Keen to take a slice of the soaring live fight market, boxing legend Barry McGuigan has set up a company which gives investors the chance to share in the profits of a young and successful boxer. Looking for the next Carl Froch or George Groves, The Boxing Advantage Company will scout for young talent, sign them up via a management agreement, and then pair them up with leading coaches and mentors to get them ready for a lucrative fight, ideally within two years.

McGuigan’s firm will then develop the boxers media presence, personal brand and fan base and in return it will earn sponsorship revenue from the boxer which it will share with investors.

It’s not clear whether the firm will seek to raise money for second funding round (the first round expired in March 2018.) The scheme was listed on the EIS where you can raise up to £5 million and allows new investors to buy shares in your company with tax relief.

The Gym Group

When the The Gym Group floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2015 and raised £125 million from new investors, it was gearing up for growth. It has now opened up around 50 new gyms across the UK. Membership fees are around £15 a month and weekly Boxercise and Fitbox classes are included.


The Leeds-based budget gym chain has also grown rapidly over the last few years, having increased its sales by 83 per cent between 2013 and 2015 and now operates 52 gyms across the UK. Jon Wright, founder and CEO of Xercise4Less said, ‘Our focus on customer service and choice, and our investment in state of the art equipment has helped us to attract a large membership base and pursue organic growth plans.’ It currently offers gym memberships for £9.99 a month.


In October 2016, premium London-based boxing gym Gymbox attracted £39 million in investment from existing investors to expand its portfolio across London, including a Farringdon site with an Olympic sized boxing ring. £13 million came from an existing shareholder Business Growth Fund. 

It now runs nine gyms across central London.

As the UK wellness and sports club market is set to grow further and UK boxing continues to gain new fans across the world, opportunities for entrepreneurs to create a successful sports business will continue.

Further reading on the UK wellness market

Wellness and health start-up incubator launched by Alliance Boots

Michael Somerville

Michael Somerville

Michael was senior reporter for from 2018 to 2019.