Indoor sports associations in particular are dealing with declining membership numbers as a result of the corona crisis. This is stated in the fourth Monitor Sport and Corona, drawn up by the Mulier Institute. At 4 out of 10 sports associations, the number of members has decreased in the past twelve months.
Since the outbreak of the corona crisis, the Mulier Institute has been researching the consequences of this on the financing of sport and on the sports and exercise behavior of Dutch people. The research institute receives support from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the NOC*NSF sports umbrella and the Association of Sports and Municipalities. The fourth monitor has been presented to the House of Representatives.
The researchers conclude, among other things, that the sports sector has proved “resilient”, also thanks to the financial support measures from the government. Sports and exercise behavior has changed as a result of the corona pandemic. For example, more sports are done outside than inside and less in an organized context. It leads to a decrease in membership numbers, especially in indoor sports. Compared to the situation just before the coronavirus outbreak, the fitness industry has lost almost a quarter of its members.
“It can also be concluded on the basis of the membership numbers of sports associations that indoor sports are being hit hard by the corona crisis,” the report states. The field sports associations mainly have to deal with a decrease in the number of volunteers, especially trainers/coaches and administrators. “This share has more than doubled compared to the measurement in the spring of 2021.”
Concerns among club directors about the survival of their club have abated. Just over 20 percent say they are concerned, compared to over 40 percent a year ago. Thanks to support measures, most clubs can absorb their loss of turnover and continue to pay salaries. As a result, the financial impact of the pandemic remains limited. About 3 percent of the associations say they are about to collapse, comparable to the situation in the spring. The researchers conducted a poll at more than 1000 sports associations.
Although the consequences of the corona crisis for the support structure for sport have been noticeable, sports associations, NOC*NSF, the Platform Ondernemende Sportproviders and municipalities have generally proved sufficiently resilient in the period from 1 January to 1 September 2021. in the monitor. “They look to the (near) future with moderate optimism. It must be emphasized that this is about moderate optimism, because the support structure of the sport indicates that it is currently still dependent on the aid and support that the government offers.”
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