Determining the Effects of COVID-19 on the Sport Participation Ecosystem

Warwick, Lance
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

The impact of the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 (commonly referred to as COVID-19) has been immense, and the effects on society are still emerging. This research attempts to understand the wide-ranging impacts on sport participants and their physical activity. By integrating the Theory of Sport Capital and the Determinants of Sport Participation, this research uses interviews with sport organizations, sport participants, and data collected from a popular physical activity tracking app to determine the current impacts and potential future trends in the recovery of the sport participation ecosystem from COVID-19. This research found that sport participants have resiliency in their physical activity and that the impacts of the pandemic on engaged sport participants was low. However, interviews with sport organizations revealed that they are facing significant capacity constraints and ongoing uncertainty due, in part, to the pandemic. Conceptually, this research provides support for the Theory of Sport Capital and demonstrates that it can be combined with the Determinants of Sport Participation to understand sport participation. Future research should investigate how the pandemic has impacted individuals who have been traditionally excluded from sport and how the sport ecosystem can better develop long-term participation in sport.

Sport Organizations, Non-Profit Sport, Physical Activity, Sport Capital