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Children's Sports Activities - UK - October 2010

This report charts changing patterns of children’s participation in sports activities and assesses the attitudes towards sport of both young people and their parents to identify how sports providers, brands and retailers can encourage more children to play more sport, more often. In so doing, it examines the hypothesis that: “the London 2012 Olympic Games present a unique opportunity to re-connect young people with the concept of playing sport for fun and deepen their participation habits as a result.”

  • More than 90% of children now get at least two hours a week of high-quality PE and sport at school, while more than half play sport in their free time, making it the most popular leisure activity among 7-15s.
  • In 2010, in excess of 4 million children are estimated to play sport outside school on either an organised or casual basis. While the majority of these children participate for less than three hours a week, 22% devote more than five hours weekly to sport.
  • Around half of children play sport casually with friends or family, whereas only 40% play on an organised basis with clubs. This is partly due to cost pressures and reflective of the wider move towards free facilities and less structured sport seen in the adult market.
  • Variations in the value placed on social aspects of sport present several challenges for providers and brands: socialising around sport is more important to boys than to girls, is positively correlated with socio-economic status and loses appeal as children pass through Key Stage 3.
  • Most parents (62%) encourage my children to do sport, but not any sport in particular, while 26% are more prescriptive, encouraging their children to do particular sports they are interested in themselves.
  • While the prime motivation for parents to encourage children to do sport is to ensure they stay fit and healthy (74%), other important factors include making sure they have a good balance between academic skills and other areas (46%) and helping them learn teamwork/leadership skills (34%).

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Main issues
        • Definition
          • Abbreviations
          • Future Opportunities

              • Trend: Rebirth of Cities
                • Trend: Rise of the Screenager
                • Market in Brief

                  • Children come out to play
                    • Participation base still wider than deep
                      • A nation of casuals
                        • Club play engages – but remains exclusive
                          • Parents a primary influence...
                            • ...but providers pressured to reach peers in secondaries
                              • School sport: an unpopular winner?
                                • Olympic opportunity does not guarantee gold
                                  • Demographic swings, recessionary roundabouts
                                  • Internal Market Environment

                                    • Key points
                                      • Interest in sport: Children prefer to play
                                        • Figure 1: Children’s favourite sports, 2005-09
                                      • More facilities – but access remains restricted
                                        • Figure 2: Multi-sport facility numbers, 1999-2009
                                      • Students still swift to substitute school sport
                                        • Figure 3: Total curriculum time spent on PE for all pupils, by year group, 2005/06-2009/10
                                      • Cheerleading faces football in battle for schools’ market share
                                        • Figure 4: Average number of sports offered in schools, 2005/06-2009/10
                                      • Club links: No formal jacket required?
                                        • Figure 5: Schools’ club links, 2004/05-2009/10
                                      • Access to equipment: Children keen on correct kit
                                        • Figure 6: Children’s use and ownership of sports shoes, by type, 2005-09
                                      • Peers influence interest, parents provide access
                                        • Figure 7: Sources of information about sports opportunities for children, November 2008
                                        • Figure 8: Barriers to sports participation among children, November 2008
                                      • Do children watch what they play, or play what they watch?
                                        • Figure 9: Sports most televised and most watched by children, 2009
                                      • Nothing in the papers: Print media sidestep children’s sport
                                        • Figure 10: Sports magazine circulations, 1999-2009
                                      • The star effect: up close, not impersonal
                                        • Figure 11: Number of professional football matches attended by children, 2005-09
                                      • The 2012 Olympics: How big an opportunity?
                                        • Can’t play, won’t play
                                          • Figure 12: Incidence of obesity and being overweight among children, by age, 1998-2008
                                        • Public spending cuts handicap children’s sport
                                        • Broader Market Environment

                                          • Key points
                                            • 5-9s become the primary target
                                              • Figure 13: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, by gender, 2005-15
                                            • Downturn depriving those who need sport most
                                              • Figure 14: GDP, PDI, consumer expenditure and savings, at constant 2005 prices, 2005-15
                                            • Sporting habits of children filter down from upscale parents
                                              • Figure 15: Forecast adult population trends, by socio-economic group, 2005-15
                                            • An online opportunity to engage outside the box
                                              • Figure 16: Internet access among children, 2005-09
                                              • Figure 17: Children’s use of the internet, 2009
                                            • Mobile to end sport’s ‘third place’ isolation
                                              • Figure 18: Children’s ownership of mobile phones for personal use, 2005-09
                                          • Competitive Context

                                            • Key points
                                              • Off the sofa: Sport a regular winner
                                                • Figure 19: Activities participated in during free time in the past seven days, 2009
                                              • On the sofa: A mid-table performer
                                                • Figure 20: Children’s favourite types of TV programme, 2005-09
                                              • Spending on sport: Dad! Can I have...
                                                • Figure 21: Children’s spending habits, 2005-09
                                            • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                                • Strengths
                                                  • Breadth of interest
                                                    • Demographic trends
                                                      • Parental support
                                                        • London 2012 Olympic Games
                                                          • School-club links
                                                            • Weaknesses
                                                              • Public sector provision
                                                                • The recession
                                                                  • ‘Health chore’ perceptions
                                                                    • Peer pressure
                                                                      • Media presence
                                                                      • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Pop-up sport can offer seasonal variety
                                                                            • adiStars seeks to end sporting isolation
                                                                              • Inspiration for perspiration
                                                                                • Creating coaches to deliver sustainable skills
                                                                                  • Social sport for a networked generation
                                                                                  • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • School sport drives up primary participation...
                                                                                        • Figure 22: Children participating in organised sport on a weekly basis, 2005-15
                                                                                      • ...but casual sport is a serious player
                                                                                        • A committed core delivers market value
                                                                                          • Figure 23: Participation in organised sport for at least five hours weekly, by age, 2008/09
                                                                                      • Companies, Organisations and Initiatives

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • A broad provider base
                                                                                            • Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
                                                                                              • Department for Education (DfE)
                                                                                                • Department of Health (DoH)
                                                                                                  • Sport England
                                                                                                      • Figure 24: Sport England grants funding awards, 2009/10
                                                                                                    • Youth Sport Trust
                                                                                                      • National Governing Bodies
                                                                                                        • County Sports Partnerships
                                                                                                        • What Sports do Children Play?

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • No specialist subjects: schoolchildren open to all sporting offers
                                                                                                              • Figure 25: Children's sports activities, July 2010
                                                                                                            • Club sports create commitment
                                                                                                              • Pushy parents not blinkered to trying something new...
                                                                                                                • ...but inter-sport links are as strong as ever
                                                                                                                • How Much Sport do Children Play?

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • A regular fixture for only a few
                                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Number of hours a week spent on sports outside school or during leisure time, 2005-09
                                                                                                                    • School sports fill the participation timetable
                                                                                                                      • Figure 27: Leading children’s sports activities, by frequency of participation, 2005-09
                                                                                                                  • Where and How do Children Play Sport?

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • A nation divided: casuals v clubbers
                                                                                                                        • Figure 28: How children participate in sport, July 2010
                                                                                                                      • Growing up, growing away from home
                                                                                                                        • Less affluent are least club-oriented
                                                                                                                          • Most committed go it alone
                                                                                                                            • Club kids play by appointment
                                                                                                                              • Figure 29: Regular and occasional participation in sport and leisure activities, by location, 2005-09
                                                                                                                            • Clubs learn value of school links
                                                                                                                              • Figure 30: Children’s membership of sports clubs, 2005-09
                                                                                                                          • Attitudes Towards Children’s Sport

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Still fun, but a health chore for many
                                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Agreement with selected lifestyle statements, 2005-09
                                                                                                                              • Seek peer support to reduce teenage rebellion
                                                                                                                                • Social sports clubs must look beyond boys and the better off
                                                                                                                                  • End of the sporting dynasty?
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Attitudes towards children's sport, July 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Casual play for old friends, club play for new ones
                                                                                                                                    • Parents ready to run the extra mile
                                                                                                                                    • Why do Parents Encourage Children to Play Sport?

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Children refuse to take parents’ advice
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Reasons for encouraging children to take up a sport, July 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Do as I say, not as I do...
                                                                                                                                          • School an escape route from parental participation pressure
                                                                                                                                          • Children’s Sport Target Groups

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Target groups
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 34: Children’s sports participation target groups, July 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Gym Mums
                                                                                                                                                • Fanatical Fathers
                                                                                                                                                  • Touchliners
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Internal Market Environment

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 35: Sports watched on TV, 2007 and 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Broader Market Environment

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 36: Employment and unemployment, by gender, 2005-15
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – What Sports do Children Play?

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Most popular children's sports activities ever done, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Next most popular children's sports activities ever done, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Other children's sports activities ever done, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Children's sports activities done regularly, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 41: Most popular children's sports activities done occasionally, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 42: Next most popular children's sports activities done occasionally, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 43: Children's sports activities most likely never to have done, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Children's sports activities next most likely never to have done, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Other children's sports activities never done, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Children's sports activities less likely never to have done, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Children's sports activities least likely never to have done, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Children's participation in sports activities, by most popular sports done by children, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Children's participation in sports activities, by next most popular sports done by children, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Children's participation in sports activities, by other sports done by children, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – How Much Sport do Children Play

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 51: Number of hours a week spent on sports activities outside school or during leisure time, by gender, age and socio-economic group, 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 52: Frequency of playing sports, 2005-09
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Where and How do Children Play Sport?

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 53: How children participate in sports, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Places where sports and leisure activities are regularly indulged in, by gender, age and socio-economic group, 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Places where sports and leisure activities are regularly indulged in, by gender, age and socio-economic group, 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 56: Places where sports activities are occasionally indulged in, by gender, age and socio-economic group, 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Club membership, by gender, age and socio-economic group, 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 58: Club membership, by gender, age and socio-economic group, 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 59: Club membership, by gender, age and socio-economic group, 2010
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Attitudes Towards Children’s Sport

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 60: Agreement with selected lifestyle statements, by gender, age and socio-economic group, 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Agreement with selected lifestyle statements, by gender, age and socio-economic group, 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 62: Attitudes towards children's sport, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 63: Attitudes towards children's sport, by attitudes towards children's sport, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 64: Attitudes towards children's sport, by how children participate in sports, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Why do Parents Encourage Children to Play Sport?

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 65: Reasons for encouraging children to take up a sport, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 66: Reasons for encouraging children to take up a sport, by reasons for encouraging children to take up a sport, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 67: Reasons for encouraging children to take up a sport, by attitudes towards children's sport, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 68: Reasons for encouraging children to take up a sport, by how children participate in sports, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 69: Reasons for encouraging children to take up a sport, by most popular sports done by children, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 70: Reasons for encouraging children to take up a sport, by next most popular sports done by children, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 71: Reasons for encouraging children to take up a sport, by other sports done by children, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Children’s Sport Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 72: Target groups, by demographics, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 73: Reasons for encouraging children to take up a sport, by target groups, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 74: How children participate in sports, by target groups, July 2010
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 75: Children's participation in sports activities, by target groups, July 2010

                                                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                  • Amateur Swimming Association
                                                                                                                                                  • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                                                  • Audit Bureau of Circulations
                                                                                                                                                  • Bebo Inc
                                                                                                                                                  • Department for Culture Media and Sport
                                                                                                                                                  • Department of Health
                                                                                                                                                  • England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)
                                                                                                                                                  • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                  • Football Foundation
                                                                                                                                                  • Government Actuary's Department (GAD)
                                                                                                                                                  • Kantar Media
                                                                                                                                                  • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                                  • NatWest
                                                                                                                                                  • Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation
                                                                                                                                                  • Youth Sport Trust

                                                                                                                                                  Children's Sports Activities - UK - October 2010

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