The sports economy is riding on the wave of new societal expectations
In recent years, the practice of sporting activities has enjoyed steady growth in France.
According to the Sport & Health barometer survey carried out in 2017, 61% of French people say they engage in regular physical activity, i.e. a rise of seven percentage points vs. 2012. This increase can be explained, in part, by a change in the profile of those practicing sport (more women and senior citizens) and by the emergence of new habits. Indeed, in recent years, the individualization of sporting activities has gone hand-in-hand with the appearance of new motivations linked to health, relaxation, and conviviality. These developments explain the rise of sport “on-demand” (offered by private commercial service providers) but also the increase in independent practice (free of all supervision structures), which now represents the most frequent form of physical exercise.
However, it is through associations that sport has traditionally been organized. Today, these sports associations must adapt to the gradual yet far-reaching metamorphosis in the profile of people practicing sport. As they depend on access to public facilities that have to be shared, associations are finding it more difficult to gain in flexibility, unlike their private competitors, who are making strong progress notably in large urban areas and tourist destinations. Their ability to respond to these developments is, however, crucial to the extent that associations play a key role in teaching sport and in the preservation of the values associated with it.