Sport Relief’s live broadcast last Friday night raised just over £38m on the night, the lowest on the night total for the event since 2008.
Sport Relief announced over the weekend that it had raised over £38.1m so far. It called the total “fantastic” and said the money raised “will help vulnerable people across the UK, and the world, to live happier, healthier and safer lives”.
However the £38.1m raised on the night is £17m less than was raised by Sports Relief in 2016, when it raised £55m on the night. This rose to £57m overall.
This year's total appears to be the lowest for a decade. In 2008 the event raised a total of £28.5m on the night.
In 2014 the event raised over £53m, while the 2012 iteration of the event raised over £60m in total.
A spokesman for Sport Relief said the organisation wouldn’t speculate as to “why totals may vary from year to year”. However he said the organisation was expecting the total figure to pass £40m in the coming days.
Liz Warner, chief executive of Comic Relief, said: “We are as ever humbled by the generosity of the British public, and want to thank every single person who supported Sport Relief this year. We will spend the money with our partners here in the UK and around the world to help people tackle some of the toughest circumstances imaginable.
“I also want to say thank you to the brave people who took on challenges this year, not only for putting their bodies on the line but also for putting so much of their personal experience of mental and maternal health out there. The inspiring way the public has responded by sharing their own stories and throwing their support behind the challenges makes us determined to do even more to make sure the purpose is front and centre in all we do.”
No more 'white saviour' appeals
Comic Relief, which also runs the Red Nose Day and Sport Relief appeals, also announced on Friday that it would no longer be using so-called “white saviour” appeals from celebrities, after a clip featuring Ed Sheeran visiting street children in Liberia for Red Nose Day 2017 was awarded the ‘most offensive’ charity video at the Radi-Aid Awards.
Liz Warner made the announcement in an interview with The Guardian. While the announcement was welcomed by many, Warner did say that the change might affect fundraising in the short term.
Last Friday’s Sport Relief broadcast featured a number of film appeals fronted by celebrities, including former professional footballer Rio Ferdinand and actor David Tennant. However, celebrities only introduced the films, which were focused instead on local voluntary workers and their stories.