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TGO Gyms and commercial sponsorship: adidas UK

TGO Gyms and commercial sponsorship: adidas UK

Olympic-branded adiZones: 2008 to 2012

The key question:

Can TGO help adidas to activate their sponsorship of the London Olympics?

The heart of the challenge:

It’s the early years of The Great Outdoor Gym Company. We’ve pioneered outdoor gyms in the UK, installing for early adopters in England and Scotland. Next thing we know, we’re talking to adidas UK about their tier 1 sponsorship of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is all rather exciting for a family business that started around the kitchen table.

The adidas team has one inspirational goal – to get more people active in the UK by leveraging the power of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They’re also intrigued by our outdoor gyms. They want to use their London 2012 rights to create a lasting legacy, activating local communities before, during and after London 2012.

Can TGO rise to their phenomenal challenge?


TGO’s answer:

We sharpen every pencil we have in the building. We call upon the passion and determination of the Olympic spirit. We adopt a black and white stray kitten, naming him adiCat. Then we get to work – knowing we must be bold and daring in our vision.

We sketch out the ‘adiZone’ – an open access, multi-sports facility in the shape of the London 2012 logo. It’s 25 metres squared. We include an 18-station outdoor gym, a basketball area, a football goal, tennis wall, climbing wall and an open area for aerobics, dance, gymnastics and martial arts. We send our homework into the adidas, hold our breath and feed adiCat lots of treats – then the call comes in and it’s a yes. Cartwheels are the order of the day!

adiZone-launch-All-BlacksWe work up our final designs including 3D computer models, then adidas UK commit to investing £1 million in the pilot sites. TGO manufacture 4 adiZones, to be donated to the host Olympic London Boroughs of Greenwich, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Newham. In 2008, we install them at no charge to the local authorities. The New Zealand All Blacks rugby team, the GB wheelchair basketball team and Christine Ohuruogu, the 400m Olympic gold medallist are amongst the adidas-sponsored stars who launch the first adiZones.

Early user feedback is very positive and surprising too – though adiZones are targeted towards adidas’s core demographic, young people, they are also attracting older adults, previously inactive people and BAME groups.  

adiZoneIn 2009, TGO help adidas to write a funding bid to expand the adiZone programme nationwide. We’re successful in attracting £3 million funding from the Department for Education’s co-location fund. Central government recognises the huge opportunity to roll out adiZones across the country, attracting 50% match-funding from local authorities and education partners. They see the potential for adiZones to be inspiring community hubs, bringing local people and vital services together using the power of the Olympic Games and adidas brand – encouraging innovative ways of working from children and young people’s services, healthcare providers, local schools and colleges, sports clubs, the police and voluntary sector organisations.

Behind the scenes, TGO help adidas to administrate the fund – marketing the opportunity to every local authority nationwide, sending out application packs, fielding hundreds of queries from fund applicants and ensuring every applicant adds value with a clear activation strategy. With successful bidders, TGO manage the step-by-step process towards installation and launch – carrying out site surveys, preparing contracts, project managing the build and helping to plan launch events with local authorities, schools and community organisations. The adidas team continue to add their magic touch to every adiZone installed – they generate great publicity by supporting launches with their top sporting pros. Stars include Tom Daley, Jessica Ennis, Daley Thompson, Phillips Idowu, Tim Henman, Louis Smith, Ian Thorpe and many more.


40 adiZones across the country are successfully match-funded through the co-location fund scheme. In his role at LOCOG, Sebastian Coe cites the adiZone programme as an example of best practice in terms of public/ private partnership.

In 2010, global measurement company, Neilsen, carry out the largest UK study of outdoor gyms. They conduct 478 interviews of 5 minutes across 10 adiZones to assess the impact. Neilsen find that 61% visit their adiZone once a week or more. 62% say the adiZone has helped them to become more active (including 84% of people from ethnic minorities and 73% of under 16s). 87% say the adiZone is having a positive effect on their community.

With the co-location fund over-subscribed, there’s still plenty of interest in adiZones. With the case proven for adiZones through extensive independent research, by the time of the London 2012 Olympic Games there are 70 adiZones right across England and Wales – adidas’s Olympic legacy gift to the nation.


Feedback from adidas, LOCOG and Partnerships for Schools (Co-location fund):

At adidas’s global marketing meeting, the adiZone programme is heralded as a great CSR success, activating their sponsorship of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games right across the nation. In their ‘Little Book of adiZones’, adidas summarise key achievements from their perspective.

For an investment from adidas of £1.3 million (the pilot sites in the host Olympic boroughs and promotional costs), the adiZone programme has attracted an additional £7 million funding from central and local government. Neilsen measurement in 2010 estimates that over 300,000 users have already benefited from the 40 adiZones installed at the time – suggesting millions will be impacted by the time of the 2012 Games and beyond. adidas’s goal of activating local communities with a tangible Olympic legacy project has been fully realised.


Paul Deighton, Chief Executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, says:

“One of the biggest challenges we face in getting more people active is the amount of the population who want to get involved but don’t feel as though they have anywhere to do it. The adiZone programme tackles this issue head on and provides a safe, fun, free and always open location that will enable and inspire people to get more into sport.”

Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, says:

“The adiZones inspire young people to become more active and help make our vision of encouraging young people to get involved with sport a reality.”


Mark Hayward, Project Director, Partnerships for Schools (management of the Co-Location Fund), says:

“Partnerships for Schools has worked closely with The Great Outdoor Gym Company to secure the roll-out of adiZones across the country on school and other community sites, utilising resources from the cross-Government Co-location Fund programme.  We have found them to be an exemplary delivery partner.  They have managed contact with local authorities and other agencies to ensure the necessary ownership of the adiZone developments at local level, working with individuals to maximise the benefits of the developments to the whole community, and managed links with adidas directly to make the most of their marketing expertise and brand profile.  They have successfully embedded the learning secured through the first round of projects into later developments, and shared good practice on an ongoing basis.  Working together, through the investment of £3m co-location funding, we will have delivered 40 adiZones, a significant legacy for many parts of the country ahead of London 2012, and a fantastic testament to the positive working relationship developed between TGOGC, adidas and PfS – a real “win-win” for all partners.”


Looking for innovative sponsorship projects that enhance communities? Speak to the TGO team about your corporate goals.

  Case Studies
  04 January 2020

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