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Conference Paper BHPS-2009 Conference: the 2009 British Household Panel Survey Research Conference, 9-11 July 2009, Colchester, UK

Sporting participation and sporting success


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Over the past decade the issue of sport participation has been marked by increasing levels of media coverage and public concern, as well as a growing level of political and social significance. This has been highlighted in a number of recent government policy documents on sport participation in the UK. The UK Government have set an ambitious target of 70% of the population undertaking 5 x 30 minutes of moderate activity per week by 2020 (DCMS / Strategy Unit 2002) and it is claimed that hosting the Olympics can contribute towards this (at present the figure is about 32% of the population). Furthermore the report also makes the claim that, many sports report an upsurge in interest following international sporting success, particularly when televised (DCMS / Strategy Unit 2002: 72). There is however little research linking success in major international tournaments with sports participation. Using data from both the General Household Survey and the British Household Panel Survey this study examines the evolution of sporting participation in the UK over the period 1977 - 2006. Whilst previous studies have tended to focus on the demographic determinants of demand (Farrell and Shields, 2002; Downward, 2007; Downward and Riordan 2007) this study focuses on the extent to which participation is influenced by success in major international tournaments. Finally the study also offers some insight into the relationship between participation and spectator demand.


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