The rise in annual subscriptions reflects improved public funding and better marketing by traditional clubs that once teetered on the brink of closure because they were out of touch with their communities.
Sailing, motor sports, basketball, gymnastics and youth football are among the sports that have enjoyed the biggest gains between 2007 and 2009 with golf being the only one out of 73 sports to report a fall in membership.
The survey of 3,000 clubs by the Central Council of Physical Recreation (CCPR), the trade body for sport, suggests that Britain is becoming a more active nation in the run-up to London 2012. Their gains come as the Fitness Industry Association reports a 3 per cent year-on-year rise in gym memberships.
Peter Taylor, the professor of sports economics at Sheffield Hallam University and the survey’s compiler, is surprised that clubs are bucking the recessionary trend, given the swing away from organised sport to gyms in recent years. “I had expected to see participation falling, so I would like to think it’s government policy working,” he said.
Source: The Times