Phoenix-based sports tourism consultancy the Huddle Up Group, released results of a national study focused on parents of young athletes that play travel sports. The survey, dubbed “Return to Play”, asked five (5) questions specifically targeting parents' view on when and under what circumstances they would allow their kids to return to the playing field. Nearly 2,700 responses were collected from May 5-17, 2020.
Huddle Up Group Founder + CEO, Jon Schmieder, commented on the survey and the results, “We were seeing a lot of information coming out in the media and from some of the national organizations, but it was mostly opinion-based. In the case of the survey data we had seen, most of it was asking the sports organizations what they thought about the future of our industry. Our team thought that the key players in getting sports tourism back on track were the parents. So we set out to specifically ask them when they would put their kids back on the road to compete, and also when and under what circumstances they would do so.”
Key findings included:
- 77.8% of respondents said they would be willing to allow their kids back into travel sports in September and beyond, compared to 48.5% in May.
- 82% of parents said they would only allow their kids to participate within a 3-hour drive of home today, with that number gradually decreasing in subsequent months down to 48.5% in September (meaning as time goes, the radius of the competition will get wider).
- Aligning with the regional drive data, respondents were nearly 5-times more likely allow their kids to fly for competitions in September (22.2%) than they are today (4.8%).
- Respondents anticipate that they will travel with 2.5 family members per athlete when competitions commence.
- Nearly half of all respondents (48.7%) said today’s market challenges will not impact their sports travel budgets.
Virginia Beach Sports Marketing’s Dani Timm commented on the study, “The primary decision-makers or decision influencers in the youth participatory market are the athlete’s parents. It is paramount that a parent feels comfortable with the travel decisions that are being made on behalf of a child’s team or sport. The data that Huddle Up Group is providing is essential in the economic recovery process.”
USA BMX COO John David offered his thoughts, “During these uncertain times, knowledge is power more than ever before. USA BMX is focused on safely returning to normal operations and the data collection by the Huddle Up Group is paramount in our decisions moving forward.”
“The great work that the Huddle Up Group has done will help destinations across the country better determine how and when to host events going forward. By polling parents, the Huddle Up Group has taken the temperature of key decision-makers in the sports tourism industry,” said Matt Ten Haken of the Greater Fox Cities (WI) CVB.
Huddle Up Group is planning a follow-up survey to focus on parent’s views on what essential needs and/or access they will require at a tournament site to allow their kids to travel and participate in events. That survey plans to launch in the coming week.