Day 1 at the #ESP2018 - The future of sports clubs in Europe

On day one of the first European Sport Platform in Budapest, discussions centred on innovations and emerging trends for sports clubs in the 21st century.

The sessions, organised by ENGSO, the Hungarian Competitive Sport Federation and the European Lotteries, began with introductions and a keynote speech by Peter Mattsson of the Swedish Sports Confederation, bringing the 'modern day sports club' into focus and envisioning what the future will bring. The day continued with a range of voices tackling different aspects of modern European sports clubs, including concrete examples of reimagining traditional club setups.

Amid a range of backgrounds and viewpoints, certain themes were repeated throughout the day's sessions. Multiple presentations shed light on the current trends of active sport clubs throughout Europe. While youth participation in clubs seems to be on the rise, there is a common tendency for children to drop out by early adolescence. The drop occurs for many reasons, but is common across countries for both boys and girls. Mattsson explored one potential reason for this— the simple fact that sports stop being fun:

"If we can learn more about the characteristics of the sport that are really fun in the 21st century, then our chances to meet the needs of participants will increase dramatically," Mattsson said.

Peter Mattsson (Photo Credit: Nándor Vörös / Hungarian Competitive Sport Federation)

Another potential inhibitor of participation explored in other sessions is the growth of competing activities which draw attention away from sports, particularly for adults.

In order to encourage more participation, many speakers focused on innovative and creative solutions that shift traditional visions of sports clubs. Among these approaches, Ulla Nykänen described a "sports club for health" approach, while Hein Veerman and Maarten Van Yperen spoke about "Open Sports Clubs", describing an inclusive environment conducive to developing connections with the community.

Also tying in the role of community, the day's events concluded with an introduction to e-sport. Hans Jagnow of eSport-Bund Deutschland emphasised the importance of defining e-sport and recognising its role in bringing athletes together.

Hans Jagnow (Photo Credit: Nándor Vörös / Hungarian Competitive Sport Federation)

Day two of the European Sport Platform will take a closer look at esport and the potential for collaboration with traditional sport.

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