Sport for All: Events and Facilities as Facilitators to Lifelong Sport Involvement

Brianna Newland

There are a number of positive assumptions held about sport and its ability to contribute to adults’ lives. Sport, when intentionally programmed, is considered a valuable vehicle to accomplish a number of social, physical, and psychological outcomes (Coakley, 2011; Dionigi, 2005). With the right focused programming and/or planning, sport also has the potential to provide important economic and social impacts to the community (Butler & Aicher, 2015). With the tremendous growth of the sport travel industry, adults are seeking sport experiences that allow them to remain active and competitive sport participants (Newland & Aicher, 2015a, 2015b). Many cities and countries are recognizing the interest and benefit to the community, both economically and socially, with the development of policy and/or initiatives aimed at building active (or participant-focused) sport tourism (Gibson, 2003). Many cities and some states created sport commissions whose primary focus is to attract and/or bid on sport events in order to drive tourism. However, despite the growth of sport tourism related to sport participation, the access and opportunities for adult participants continue to remain inconsistent. While some sport organizations, facilities, event promoters, and parks and recreation departments recognized the critical role adult sport plays in their daily business practices, many do not realize the impact adult sport can have to their bottom line.