Moving People – when numbers count
Grassroots sport and recreational physical activity are by far the most important sport sectors of today – that is, when the numbers count.
It is clear that the recreational sport sectors can boast greater and much broader participation than the relatively small, but very visible, elite and entertainment-based sports. But the recreational sport sectors are also the “most valuable players” from a financial point of view. It is all about numbers – numbers of participants as well as consumers!
Now it’s time to ask: How are we going to increase the number of active participants and consumers? What are the selling points?
From an individual and societal perspective the strongest selling point is to improve health. As individuals we want to enjoy the personal health benefits of being physically active. It improves our quality of life. Physical activity and public health also go hand-in-hand from a societal perspective. This is a fact that is slowly climbing up onto national public health agendas across the world – not because sport and physical activity are well recognised among the public health authorities. Unfortunately they are not. But due to the massive amount of documentation on the fact that the world is suffering from a pandemic of inactivity, and that inactivity is now the fourth leading death risk globally, it becomes clear that action is needed.
The battle is on between physically active lifestyles and inactive lifestyles. Right now the score is not in favour of physical activity. In fact “we” have lost big time to physical inactivity over the last decade. But we can win this battle and the sport sector can play a key role – if we focus on participation.
100 million more Europeans to be active in sport and physical activity by 2020
Together with a number of European Parliamentarians, we have proposed that the European Union, with its 500 million inhabitants, support the vision and goal of “100 million more European active in sport and physical activity by 2020”. The calculation is simple. 40 percent of European Union citizens are regularly physically active. However, in the five most physically active countries the percentage is 60 percent. By closing this gap between less physically active countries and the most active countries it would add 100 million more active and healthier citizens, who at the same time are individual consumers ready to spend around €300-400 annually on sport and recreation products and services.
Across the world we see a growing number of participation campaigns. This is good and necessary. To be effective these campaigns need cross-sector involvement. The sport sectors should play a central role in such mass mobilisation campaigns, but we need to act with joined forces. To get more people moving we need commitment from the corporate, health, education, transportation sectors. A joint cooperation focusing on increasing sport and physical activity participation can make a difference – with big numbers.
MOVE Week – Europe’s biggest community sport campaign
The International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) and the European Cyclist Federation have launched the 2013 edition of MOVE Week, a one-week showcase of sport and physical activity events across Europe promoting all the benefits of engaging in a physically active lifestyle. MOVE Week is the flagship event of ISCA’s NowWeMove campaign, which has the vision of “100 more Europeans active in sport and physical activity by 2020” as its guiding ambition.
A wide range of physical activity promoters are coordinating existing and new physical activities that will take place during MOVE Week from 7-13 October 2013. These promoters, called “MOVE Agents”, range from individuals to non-governmental organisations, schools, companies and municipalities. It is with this cross-sector, cross-border approach that the NowWeMove campaign, MOVE Week and MOVE Agents combine as Europe’s biggest community sport campaign to fight the battle against physical inactivity and contribute to both a healthier Europe and a healthier recreation sector by moving people.
Mogens Kirkeby, President of International Sport and Culture Association