UK Sports Participation Market - September 2012
Alongside these, and to create growth in the crucial 14-25 segment in particular, sport will also have to address a number of more personal issues ranging from physical ability to play – and questions of body image that may affect perceptions of this – to the perceived need to wear the ‘right’ labels and use only ‘fashionable’ facilities for play.”
– David Walmsley, Senior Leisure Analyst
While the original targets for the sports participation legacy of the London 2012 Olympics have long been abandoned, recent trends in playing numbers suggest the Games may have more post-event value as a platform for driving up activity levels than cynics might expect.
Picking up on interest sparked by the Games among young people will be crucial for all sports as recent participation gains have been led exclusively by over-25s and government policy has switched to promoting sporting habits for life among 16-25-year-olds that will see governing bodies supported on a funding-by-results basis.
This report assesses the factors underlying these current and recent trends in sports participation in Great Britain (with a particular focus on England, given the nature of the data available), examines consumers’ attitudes towards sport and identifies ways in which governing bodies, facility providers and sports brands and sponsors can help boost playing numbers in the short and medium term.
Some questions answered about the sports participation market include
- Are there enough places people can play?
- How can more people be encouraged to play more often?
- Can government policy keep teens in the game?
- How can the entrenched barrier of cost be overcome?
- Is technology an enemy or a friend?
Mintel’s definition of ‘participation sports’ is based on that set out by Sport England, which states that “the purpose of the activity must be sporting and not a means to another purpose” and that it “must have an established structure, defined by rules, and where appropriate, organised national or international competition”.
Mintel’s interpretation of the second element of this extends to the inclusion of athletic activities undertaken for fitness rather than competitive purposes, such as aerobics and/or weight training in a gym, and which are therefore less formally structured in terms of their rules and organisation, but which still have an accepted means of or basis for participation.
For the purposes of this report, Mintel’s definition of ‘sport’ includes all activities listed below, which have been grouped under four key typologies for the purposes of discussion throughout the report:
- Weight training/gym
- Aerobics/fitness classes
- Table tennis
- Martial arts
- Extreme sports.
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