Industry Shorts: British Gymnastics, Bellator MMA, B Active…

07 Feb 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

British Gymnastics has announced the appointment of Mike Darcey as its new Chair, replacing the outgoing Matt Neville.

The former CEO of News International (pictured above) will take the helm in March, with Neville to step down having served the maximum term of eight years in the role at the UK governing body for gymnastics.

Darcey is currently Chairman of M247, a private equity owned B2B technology services business, as well as Board Director for Sky New Zealand and for Arqiva.

In a 15-year stint at Sky, initially as Director of Strategy, then as Chief Operating Officer, Darcey played a prominent role in Sky acquiring major sports broadcast rights including the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and Formula One.

A competitive gymnast as a teen in New Zealand and later a coach and judge, Darcey is to focus on delivering the British Gymnastics strategic plan, with the aim to meet the participation boom, ensure sustainable medal success, whilst also delivering good governance and integrity.


MMA promotion Bellator has revealed a partnership with UK broadcaster Channel 5, which will see its European fight series televised live in 2019 on free-to-air terrestrial TV.

As part of the agreement, the deal allows the Viacom-owned broadcaster exclusive rights to a minimum of at least six UK and European-based Bellator events in this calendar year.

The first televised instalment of Bellator’s 2019 European fight series will air live on Channel 5 on Saturday 9th February, showcasing Bellator Newcastle: Pitbull vs. Scope, from the Utilita Arena.

The addition of live MMA action expands Channel 5’s sports offering, with a portfolio which includes boxing, England cricket, World Rally Championship and Premiership Rugby.


England Lioness Nikita Parris has helped launch a new female focused B Active sports programme, which hopes to increase physical activity among women aged 16-24.

The programme is part of Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s and Active Communities Network’s (ACN) B Active initiative, which was designed to get young people from some of the UK’s most deprived communities engaged in sport and physical activity.

Since its inception, B Active has engaged over 4,000 young people and latest programme will be the first to specifically focus on young women from areas of high deprivation and provide them with greater access to sport.

The launch of the female-focused programme was unveiled at a reception in the Houses of Parliament, attended by Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Mims Davies MP.

This latest programme will initially be rolled-out across Birmingham in partnership with youth charity InUnity.