SportsEvents Magazine

MAR 2018

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Page 30 of 75 March 2018 31 vacations. Youth sports has become a life- style for many. That's the core of the dilemma. If you aren't pursuing, spending and participating at a high—if not an elite level, you aren't playing at all. But if you are, you're doing so at an accelerating pace. Thus, while the percentage of youth athletic participants dwindles, our industry is marching on with steady and sometimes phenomenal growth. Sports parents hope that the intense train- ing and frequent high-level competitions will lead to college scholarships. Of course, we all know this seldom holds true, as less than 2 percent of high school athletes go on to play NCAA Division I college sports on full or even partial scholarships. Still, the quest for scholarships continues at a fever- ish and expansive pace. As long as participation is filling a passion, who's to argue with parents for investing so much money and time into the sports process? The problem is that children are feeling the pressure – and the more they feel the pressure, the less they enjoy the sports and that is when they begin losing their commitment to play. So why all the lead-in here about youth sports? Because it's the big banana in travel sports, with youth through college-age competitions accounting for nearly 80 per- cent of the revenue generated in our indus- try (79.3 percent based on our industry research). The balance comes from adult and senior competitions. Each year for the past 13 years, we've conducted our industry research based on surveys of sports event rights holders from throughout sports as well as sports commis- sions/CVBs across the U.S. This year, in addition to sharing that research data, we'll also try to put the issues and challenges in perspective. We'll get to the spending and economic impact data a little later in this report. But now, let's review some industry trends that are frequent topics of conversation. Participation According to data released in 2017 by the SFIA and the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, the percentage of kids playing sports continues to decrease: only 36.9 percent of children ages 6-12 are play- ing team sports on a regular basis, down from 38.6 percent in 2015 and 44.5 percent in 2008. This statistic is often referred to in the news media. What the media fail to understand is that while the percentage of youth that are par- ticipating may be dwindling, the number of kids playing is increasing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the country is growing at a rate of about 3.3 million people a year, the highest ► t SPECIAL Feature Growth $854 Million Millions of Dollars Year-to-Year Total Revenue Changes From Sports Events

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