Sports business finds winning formula at University Innovation Park

  Sport Lived
07 Oct 2013 17:42:55.827

A business which specialises in arranging overseas sporting programmes for gap year students is going from strength to strength at the University of Nottingham’s Innovation Park.

Sport Lived was founded by Ian Dodd, who spent six months playing cricket in South Africa in 2002. Ian was so inspired by his experience of playing sport and travelling that he decided to set up a company to help other people have the same adventure.

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Gap year sports placements
Sport Lived provides gap year placements for students in Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Argentina in a wide range of sports, including athletics, cricket, football, hockey, netball, rugby and more.

The company has expanded rapidly in recent years, as an increasing number of young people are attracted to the Sport Lived offer which spans a flexible spectrum of opportunities from four weeks to six months. In the latest financial year, the company’s turnover has seen an increase of over 50% on the previous twelve months.

A niche in the market
“I think we have found a particular niche in the market,” says company founder, Ian Dodd. “In each country we’ve handpicked the best sports clubs, coaching placements and accommodation providers. We also have permanent staff in each of our cities to help and support the young people who are out there.”

Ian moved Sport Lived into the University of Nottingham Innovation Park (UNIP) in May 2012 in order to accommodate the expanding team and provide it with space to grow in the future. The company currently employs a total of 15 people across its site in Nottingham and its overseas bases in Cape Town, Melbourne, Brisbane, Colombo (Sri Lanka), Dunedin (New Zealand) and Rosario (Argentina).

“UNIP is the ideal base for us,” added Ian. “We spend a lot of time meeting young people who are about to leave school or college and Nottingham is very central, which means that we are within easy reach of the majority of schools and colleges across the country. We also have space to grow the business here and take on new staff if we need to, as the office accommodation is very flexible.”

Expanding to other parts of the world
As far as the future is concerned, Sport Lived is looking to grow its UK operation while at the same time, expanding its offer to students from other parts of the world, as it builds its international reputation.

“I honestly believe that travelling overseas to play and coach sport is one of the best things you’ll ever do, no matter what career you want to pursue,” added Ian. “For a young person, being able to see the world through sport is an inspirational and unforgettable life-changing experience.”

To find out more about Sport Lived, visit

For more information about office space at the University of Nottingham Innovation Park, visit


For more information about this press release, contact Nick King, Marketing Projects Manager, Business Engagement and Innovation Services, University of Nottingham. Tel: 0115 82 32184, or email

Photo shows, left to right: Ashleigh Kate Burns, Marketing Manager; Paige Townsend, Sales; Caprice Eustace, Operations Manager; Ian Dodd, Managing Director of Sport Lived; Bob Scott, Director of University of Nottingham Innovation Park; Ali McClintock, Sales

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK’s Top 10 and the World’s Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future.

Story credits

 For more information about Sport Lived, contact Ian Dodd on e: or tel: 0844 858 9103 
Nick King  

Nick King - Marketing and Communications Manager, Energy Research Accelerator (ERA)

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 74 86727 Location: Coates Building, Faculty of Engineering, University Park Nottingham

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