Toronto, ON, February 11, 2021 – COVID-19 is jeopardizing the future of accessible sport in Canada, with a majority (52%) of providers of sports programming saying they are concerned (17% very/35% somewhat) about the permanent closure of their organization, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Canadian Tire Jumpstart.
The situation is bleak: three in ten (28%) sports organization are temporarily closed, while another 64% are attempting to run modified programming. Organizations report that their operating budget has been slashed by 49%, on average. One in ten (10%) say they’re already bankrupt, with another 26% facing bankruptcy. And if conditions do not change, many say they’ll be closed in the next six months (18%) or within a year (44%).
As such, most (81%) express concern (38% very concerned/43% somewhat concerned) about their ability to provide programming in 2021, about their ability to provide the same level of service to the communities they serve (84% -- 42% very/42% somewhat) and about their ability to obtain financial support from government (74% -- 32% very/42% somewhat) given competing priorities.
With the state of sport in Canada so bleak, it’s no wonder that a majority (69%) of parents of children aged 4 to 18 say that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a strong impact on their kids’ participation in sports or recreational play. Likely linked to this, a majority of parents also say that due to the pandemic their kids are feeling isolated and lonely (74%), are finding it hard to reduce stress and anxiety (64%) and are showing signs of being less physically fit (69%).
In fact, those who say their child’s participation in sports has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 are even more likely than those who haven’t been impacted in this way to say their child is feeling lonely (78% vs. 64%), is finding it difficult to reduce stress and anxiety (68% vs. 53%) and that they are showing signs of being less physically fit (74% vs. 56%), demonstrating a clear link between the loss of sport and negative outcomes on mental and physical health.
Given the challenges of the past year, most (87%) parents agree (50% strongly/36% somewhat) that they are very much looking forward to the return of sports and recreational play, rising to 93% among those most impacted by the loss of sport. But these data call into question whether these organizations will still be around and able to provide programming once children are able to return to sport.
About the Study
These are some of the findings of two Ipsos polls conducted on behalf of Canadian Tire Jumpstart.
The first poll was conducted online via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources among a sample of 1,000 Canadian parents of children aged 4 to 18, between January 26 to 28, 2021. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian parents been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population.
The second poll was conducted online among a sample of 1,102 providers of sports programming across Canada, between January 27 to February 1, 2021. The sample was provided by Canadian Tire and included 389 registered charities, 574 non-profit organization and 139 other organizations, representing municipal parks and recreation organizations (n = 247), multi-sport facilities (n = 214), sports organizations/clubs/associations ( n = 422), provincial sports organizations (n = 143), national sports organizations (n = 44) and other organizations (n = 144). While the exact universe of sports organizations is unknown, we believe this sample captures the breadth and depth of the sports ecosystem in Canada. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all providers of sports programming across Canada been polled.
All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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