SportsEvents Magazine

MAR 2017

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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Page 39 of 75

March 2017 40 t SPECIAL Feature an American concern. Initiatives to increase sports participation are popping up across the globe. In the United Kingdom, for example, Dragon Multi-Skills (Sport Wales), Ping! (English Table Tennis), Fit for Girls (SportScotland) and Big Splash (British Swimming) are examples of just a few programs geared to grow participation and also have a focus to retrieve mid- teen athletes who have dropped out of competitive playing. There is no better or more comprehen- sive data on sports participation trends than that in the SFIA research reports. But based on our own research and fea- tures in SportsEvents magazine, quite a few sports event rights holders are experiencing growth and looking forward with tremendous optimism. "The sport of competitive climbing continues to grow rapidly," Krista Henehan, director of operations for USA Climbing, told us. "We expect an even bigger spark from the recent announcement that competi- tion climbing is on the ticket for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics." Some sports are seeing growth in various age segments even as other age segments dwindle. Golf is an excellent example. We've all probably heard of the exodus of millennials from golf. But according to the World Golf Foundation, the number of youth golfers aged 6 – 17 has increased by 20 percent since 2010. Beach sports, such as beach volleyball, beach soccer and beach Ultimate, are enjoying rapid expansion. In fact, beach volleyball is now the fastest-growing NCAA Division I sport, according to the American Volleyball Coaches Association. At the other end of the age spectrum, senior softball is also rapidly expanding. Its leagues expanded from 215 in 2014 to 315 by the end of 2016. The point is, while some mainstream sports are plowing along with stable participation, there are always ways to increase participation and grow the eco- nomic impact from sports that we can host in our communities. "It's amazing what you can do in sports tourism when you have people that are honest and want to work hard," Schumacher said. Perhaps that's why, when we consider the state of the sports events industry, we know, with certainty, that while it may wane in some segments and bubble in others, it is still as dependable as Old Faithful in produc- ing a spectacular display for those who are willing to invest the time, energy and resources to make it happen. n WHERE DEDICATION TO YOUR SUCCESSFUL EVENT IS OUR BADGE OF HONOR. OPEN UP TO DEDICATION Just minutes north of Seattle, you'll find a great selection of sports venues for your event. In addition to complete event organization assistance, you'll find over 5,000 hotel rooms, endless outdoor adventures and unlimited opportunities for fun. Contact Tammy Dunn, CSEE at 888-338-0976, ext. 102 A special thanks to Ohio's Lake Erie Shores and Islands CVB for their sponsorship in helping us defray the research expenses involved in generating this report. —Talty O'Connor

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