Is More Sport on TV Good or Bad for Participation Numbers?


There is some excellent coverage and set up of sport on TV. Take cricket’s ‘The Hundred’ for example and before it the improvements in football viewing with the ‘The Premiere League’. But do their claims of being set up to improve sport participation hold water ? Or are they set up with the intent of making us consume more sport on TV ?

As a part of your local Dads v Dads groups getting a game and helping others get a game obviously most of you are advocates of playing more sport. I suspect also most of you enjoy watching sport on TV when you get chance too. Now think back to what got you into sport in the first place? and sorry, I know for some it is a long way. For most of us it was watching our sporting heroes on TV; Mark Hughes, Ian Botham, Ivan Lendl even Steve Davis. But is it still the same today? Does sport on TV still inspire participation? Or is there so much on TV now that watching it every night is the easy option?

For children the world has changed. Sorry for sounding like Yoda but the pull of alternative interests is so much stronger. Right now I am waiting for my 2 boys 9 and 11 to get up, and fully expect the first thing they say to be ‘can I play the PS4’, aaarrrggghhh! That said, they are still keen to play sport.

Give them the environment, some equipment and a bit piss poor Dad instruction and they get stuck in. They’d never ask to watch sport on TV. But when it is on TV, they do watch it and the world cup definitely inspired, giving them new heros like Messi, Ronaldo and even Harry’s Kane and Maguire for them to replicate in the garden just as I did, and after on the IPAD of course.

What about as Adults? So after years  now of getting Dads playing each week we see it is definitely not the same as we get older. Not you thankfully, who by bringing others along and continuing to play yourselves help us to get game options every week! 

But generally for many, they can no longer be bothered. Energy levels drop with changing life priorities and with it that eagerness to get out in the cold and keep playing. It is a downward spiral. And that excellent TV coverage of sport then becomes a convenient distraction form being active.

So add more sport on TV like ‘The Hundred’ into that mix and the dreaded red button, watch any game, any time and the obvious happens with the unsurprising consequences of increasing adult inactivity. The cynic us would say we’ve become part of a designed economic system, parents pay to get children interested in sport so they will pay to watch sport as adults ?

The Future? Looking into the crystal ball it seems we can expect more and more sport on TV, more sport encouragement and participation for kids and less sport involvement for adults. We like to think that together we are trying to do something to slow that trend and keep people playing sports they enjoy, and for that, we thank you for your support!

Which is your match night ? Get booked on now.

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