Sorry for interrupting, this website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Learn more
Accept & Close

Top Ten Participation Sports in the UK - UK - May 2009

With London’s right to host the 2012 Olympic Games having been secured on a premise of turning the UK into a nation of active sportsmen and women on the back of it, this should be a boom time for the nation’s highest-profile participation sports. But the onset of the deepest recession in generations is changing the entire social and economic landscape on which those ambitions were raised, and has brought a whole range of new uncertainties into play as a result.

Sports participation is in many ways better equipped than almost all rival leisure sectors to avoid the worst of the economic downturn, but it is by no means immune to trading down behaviours and reductions in frequency of involvement. Consumers have better access to facilities and participation initiatives are becoming more attractive as sponsorship propositions. However, the market is dominated by casual play that carries a higher risk of drop-out and may have become too closely associated with health and fitness promotion to be valued as a source of fun in its own right.

This report seeks to examine the prospects for increasing levels of participation within the UK’s ten most popular sports by assessing current patterns of play and provision, analysing consumer attitudes towards them and testing the hypothesis that: “Britons will increasingly turn to playing sport as a physical and mental escape from the financial pressures they face in the current recession.”

Main issues

  • How important is sport to the leisure economy?

  • What impact is the recession having on participation in sport?

  • Will the London 2012 Olympics create a nation of sportsmen and women?

  • How can sport tackle under-representation of women within the participation base?

  • Which sports are most innovative in encouraging participation?

  • Who takes part in the different types of sport?

  • How varied are players’ participation choices?

  • Are issues around cost important determinants of participation patterns?

  • What are consumers’ main motivations for taking part in sport?

  • And what are the main barriers excluding those who do not play?

What you get

What's included

Why buy from us?

Succeed

Our reports will provide you with market data, consumer research and competitive intelligence to succeed in your market.

Instant Access

Buy now and you'll have instant access to the information you need to make the right decisions.

Opportunities

Find out what's next in the markets that matter to you: where opportunities lie and what challenges you will face.

Trusted

A business Superbrand, Mintel is a source you can trust. We have been defining and refining the Market Intelligence mix since 1972.

Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Main issues
        • Definition
          • Abbreviations
          • Future Opportunities

            • Women don’t want ‘one size fits all’
              • Community spirit
                • Clubbing together
                  • Give more often
                  • Market in Brief

                    • Market seeks more regulars…
                      • …by promoting responsibility in the collective
                        • Goal setting as important as goal scoring
                          • Recession-proofing through body, mind and wallet
                            • Women to remain sport’s big outsiders
                              • The Olympic incentive: 2012 is too late
                                • Public told sport is healthy – but do they know it’s fun?
                                  • Better access in all areas
                                    • Participation sport ready to take the sponsorship baton
                                    • Internal Market Environment

                                      • Key points
                                        • Interested in sport, interested in taking part
                                          • Figure 1: Any interest in named sports, 2004, 2006 and 2008
                                          • Figure 2: Trend in sports club membership, 2004, 2006 and 2008
                                        • Access to sport
                                          • Access to sport: Facility provision
                                            • Figure 3: UK sports facility provision, 2008
                                          • Some sports more accessible than others
                                            • Playing fields better protected
                                              • Public sector provision under pressure – with private funding drying up
                                                • Access to sport: availability of instruction
                                                  • Access to sport: cost of participation
                                                    • Access for the young
                                                      • Figure 4: Sports provided in school sports partnership programme schools, 2003/04-2007/08
                                                      • Figure 5: Schools’ links with local clubs, by activity, 2003/04-2007/08
                                                      • Figure 6: Schoolchildren’s participation in school-linked community sports clubs, 202007/08
                                                    • Sport in the media
                                                      • Sport on TV
                                                        • Figure 7: Most televised sports on UK television, 2003-08
                                                        • Figure 8: Sports watched on TV, 2004-08
                                                      • Sport in print
                                                        • Figure 9: Sports/pastimes read about in the papers, 2004, 2006 and 2008
                                                        • Figure 10: Leading sports magazines, by average net circulation per issue, June 2008
                                                      • Unequal writes for women
                                                        • Sport online
                                                          • Figure 11: Sports/pastimes looked up on the internet, 2007 and 2008
                                                        • The Olympic effect
                                                          • Outside the rings: The risk of exclusion
                                                            • Government policy: Schools, clubs and coaches
                                                              • Funding and support
                                                                • Governing bodies
                                                                  • Volunteering
                                                                    • The private sector
                                                                    • Broader Market Environment

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Consumers’ finances: Long-term gain…
                                                                          • Figure 12: Trends in personal disposable income and consumer expenditure, 2004-14
                                                                          • Figure 13: Forecast adult population trends, by socio-economic group, 2004-14
                                                                        • …following short-term pain?
                                                                          • Figure 14: UK unemployment rates (seasonally adjusted), 2004-08
                                                                        • No quick fix for ‘crisis’ in women’s participation
                                                                          • Figure 15: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, by gender, 2004-14
                                                                        • A national strategy
                                                                          • Over-65s-a-side?
                                                                            • Figure 16: Forecast adult population trends, by lifestage, 2004-14
                                                                          • Third agers still light on their (ten)pins
                                                                            • Figure 17: Third age sports and hobbies behaviour, by gender, age and socio-economic group, 2008
                                                                          • Leisure time faces full-court press
                                                                            • Figure 18: Working hours and leisure time, 2002-08
                                                                          • Health of the nation: We can’t be willing without being able
                                                                            • Social singles?
                                                                              • Figure 19: UK household sizes, 2004-14
                                                                          • Competitive Context

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • More spending on sport
                                                                                • Figure 20: Consumer expenditure on selected leisure goods and activities, 2003-08
                                                                              • Leisure rivals the threat, not sporting cousins
                                                                                • Figure 21: Most popular participation, TV and spectator sports, 2008
                                                                              • Cycling leads the retail race
                                                                                • Figure 22: Most popular UK sport and fitness websites, by market share, 2006-08
                                                                            • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                                                                • Strengths
                                                                                  • Weaknesses
                                                                                  • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Dolphin kicks for free
                                                                                        • IT training
                                                                                          • Casual clubs
                                                                                            • Beacon’s net gains
                                                                                            • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • More than 30 million adults play sport
                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Regular and occasional participation in most popular sports, 2004, 2006 and 2008
                                                                                                • Low risk, low growth
                                                                                                  • Not just pubs that need more regulars
                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Regular sports participation* in England, 2005/02005/06 and 2007/08
                                                                                                  • Fitness participation sets the pace
                                                                                                    • Figure 25: Sports participation expenditure, 2004-14
                                                                                                • Segment Performance

                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                    • Segmenting the market
                                                                                                      • Solo sports
                                                                                                        • Cycling and running stage duathlon of growth
                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Participation in solo sports, 2004, 2006 and 2008
                                                                                                        • Skill games
                                                                                                          • Darts and bowling regularly challenged
                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Participation in skill games, 2004, 2006 and 2008
                                                                                                          • Team and competitive sports
                                                                                                            • Racquet sports struggle to hold serve
                                                                                                              • Figure 28: Participation in team and competitive sports, 2004, 2006 and 2008
                                                                                                          • Top Ten Sports’ Governing Bodies

                                                                                                            • Sports governing bodies
                                                                                                              • Figure 29: The top ten sports in the UK and their governing bodies
                                                                                                            • Governing bodies
                                                                                                              • Badminton England
                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Club membership numbers, 2006/07 and 2007/08
                                                                                                                • British Cycling
                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Breakdown of British Cycling membership, as at September 2008
                                                                                                                  • British Darts Organisation
                                                                                                                    • The Football Association
                                                                                                                      • Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews
                                                                                                                        • UK Athletics
                                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Funding bodies for UK Athletics, March 2008
                                                                                                                          • World Professional Billiards & Snooker Association
                                                                                                                            • Amateur Swimming Association
                                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Operating income of the ASA, April 2007-March 2008
                                                                                                                              • Lawn Tennis Association
                                                                                                                                • British Tenpin Bowling Association
                                                                                                                                • Who Participates?

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • Running the regular sport of choice
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Frequency of participation in sports, February 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Stiff competition for playing time
                                                                                                                                      • Failing to cash in on women’s interest
                                                                                                                                        • Sporting spirit still willing as flesh becomes weak
                                                                                                                                        • Cost Considerations

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • Market needs to tackle threat of trading down
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 35: Cost considerations, February 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Women at risk in recession
                                                                                                                                              • Older players: Participation a piece of cake?
                                                                                                                                              • Motivations and Barriers to Participation

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Motivations for participation: It’s about more than money
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Motivations for participation in sport, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Olympic marketing: The race starts now
                                                                                                                                                    • Barriers to participation: Perception or reality?
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Barriers to sports participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • I want to be alone
                                                                                                                                                      • Seeking release from the recession through sport?
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 38: Motivation for participation in sports, by cost considerations, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                      • Ghettos of age: do we meet their needs or tear down the walls?
                                                                                                                                                        • The multi-sport club as mini Olympic Village
                                                                                                                                                        • Participation Segments

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Solo regulars: Duty or devotion?
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Sports participation segments, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Who plays solo sports?
                                                                                                                                                              • Who plays skill games?
                                                                                                                                                                • Who plays team and competitive sports?
                                                                                                                                                                  • Who plays what else?
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Single and multi-segment sports participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                  • Training to maintain ability
                                                                                                                                                                    • Team sports players most committed
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 41: Cost considerations, by sports participation segments, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Mental barriers as formidable as physical ones
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 42: Barriers to sports participation, by sports participation segments, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 43: Expenditure on sports participation expenditure, 2004-09
                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Who Participates?

                                                                                                                                                                    • Regular participants – detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Regular participants in sports, by demographics, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Regular participants in sports, by demographics, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Occasional/lapsed participants – detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Occasional/lapsed participants in sports, by demographics, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Occasional/lapsed participants in sports, by demographics, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Sports never done – detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Sports never done, by demographics, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Sports never done, by demographics, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Combinations of sports
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Regular/occasional participation in sports, by regular participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 51: Regular/occasional participation in sports, by regular participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 52: Regular/occasional participation in sports, by occasional participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 53: Regular/occasional participation in sports, by occasional participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Regular/occasional participation in sports, by occasional participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Cost Considerations

                                                                                                                                                                    • Cost considerations – detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Cost considerations, by demographics, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Cost considerations of regular participants
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 56: Cost considerations of regular participants in sports, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Cost considerations of regular participants in sports, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Cost considerations of occasional participants
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 58: Cost considerations of occasional participants in sports, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 59: Cost considerations of occasional participants in sports, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Combinations of cost considerations
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 60: Cost considerations, by cost considerations, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Motivations and Barriers to Participation

                                                                                                                                                                    • Motivations – detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Motivations for participation in sport, by demographics, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Barriers – detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 62: Barriers to sports participation, by demographics, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 63: Barriers to sports participation, by demographics, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Motivations for regular participants
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 64: Motivation for participation in sports, by regular participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 65: Motivation for participation in sports, by regular participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Motivations for occasional participants
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 66: Motivation for participation in sports, by occasional participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 67: Motivation for participation in sports, by occasional participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Barriers for regular participants
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 68: Barriers to sports participation, by regular participants, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 69: Barriers to sports participation, by regular participants, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Barriers for occasional participants
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 70: Barriers to sports participation, by occasional participants, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 71: Barriers to sports participation, by occasional participants, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Motivations by cost considerations
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 72: Motivation for participation in sports, by cost considerations, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Barriers by cost considerations
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 73: Barriers for participation in sports, by cost considerations, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Combinations of motivations
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 74: Motivations, by motivations, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Combinations of barriers
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 75: Barriers, by barriers, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 76: Barriers, by barriers, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Participation Segments

                                                                                                                                                                    • Sports participation segments – detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 77: Sports participation segments, by demographics, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Multi-segment participation – detailed demographics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 78: Multi-segment sports participation, by demographics, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 79: Single-segment sports participation, by demographics, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Cost considerations by segments
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 80: Cost considerations, by sports participation segments, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 81: Cost considerations, by single-segment participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 82: Cost considerations, by multi-segment participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Motivations by segments
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 83: Motivations, by sports segments, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 84: Motivations, by single-segment participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 85: Motivations, by multi-segment participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                    • Barriers by segments
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 86: Barriers, by sports participation segments, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 87: Barriers, by single-segment participation, February 2009
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 88: Barriers, by multi-segment participation, February 2009

                                                                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                  • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                  • Audit Bureau of Circulations
                                                                                                                                                                  • British Gas
                                                                                                                                                                  • British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)
                                                                                                                                                                  • British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (BSkyB)
                                                                                                                                                                  • British Tenpin Bowling Association
                                                                                                                                                                  • Department of Health
                                                                                                                                                                  • English Golf Union
                                                                                                                                                                  • English Institute of Sport (EIS)
                                                                                                                                                                  • English Ladies' Golf Association
                                                                                                                                                                  • Football Association (The)
                                                                                                                                                                  • FourFourTwo
                                                                                                                                                                  • Government Actuary's Department (GAD)
                                                                                                                                                                  • Halfords Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                  • International Monetary Fund
                                                                                                                                                                  • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                                                                  • Kellogg Company of GB Limited
                                                                                                                                                                  • Lawn Tennis Association (LTA)
                                                                                                                                                                  • London Development Agency
                                                                                                                                                                  • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                                                  • Nike
                                                                                                                                                                  • Norwich Union
                                                                                                                                                                  • Office for National Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                  • Professional Golfers Association
                                                                                                                                                                  • Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews
                                                                                                                                                                  • Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                  • Setanta Sports
                                                                                                                                                                  • Sport England
                                                                                                                                                                  • T-Mobile (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                  • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                                                                  • The National Playing Fields Association
                                                                                                                                                                  • UK Athletics
                                                                                                                                                                  • Virgin Media Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                  • Virgin Mobile
                                                                                                                                                                  • Vodafone Group Plc (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                  • Waitrose
                                                                                                                                                                  • Wm Morrison Supermarkets
                                                                                                                                                                  • Youth Sport Trust

                                                                                                                                                                  Top Ten Participation Sports in the UK - UK - May 2009

                                                                                                                                                                  £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)