Good News for the Sports Facility Industry: A Survey Says People Care More About Nearby Facilities than about Olympic Glory

Here’s some good news for sports facility contractors (and designers and suppliers): a recent survey, taken by the British firm, Pro Bono Economics, has revealed most people would rather have access to sports facilities that would enable more participation in sports, than have their country achieve medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

According to an article in the online magazine, Inside The Games, the British public noted it would rather see government sports funding channeled into more community sports and recreation centers, making entrance fees lower and funding more school and municipal playing fields.

So what can America learn from this? Plenty. There have been plenty of studies on this side of the pond, showing the benefits of sports, including not only physical fitness but avoidance of depression, better success with goal-setting and an improved ability to deal with life’s problems. And while there certainly are plenty of parents who do hope their children’s athletic prowess will land them on the medal stand someday, more see quality sports facilities in their area as an amenity that benefits their quality of life. According to the British study as chronicled in Inside The Games, it’s the thought of the long-term benefits of having sports venues that can make a particular community a more desirable place to live.

It’s also evident  from a second survey (this of leading experts from sport, economics, health and the media) that nobody thinks that a lower medal count deters children from taking up sports. (Certainly, people are disappointed when their country fails to medal, or fails to medal as much as expected), but the widespread exposure given to sports by the Olympics usually results in a demand for time at facilities – which can lead to a demand for more facilities.

The good news for ASBA members, of course, is that with another Olympics on the horizon, we can expect to see a new generation of kids inspired to take up sports – and a corresponding interest in having existing facilities improved (or new ones built) as a result of the exposure. And if parents have their way, they’ll be happy just to have those good facilities – regardless of the medal count.

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