Are municipal sports services tailored to Silvers consumers?
The demand for physical activity has been growing notably in recent years and more and more groups want to access to practice sport and this increase is directly impacted by municipal sports facilities. Among the groups, the sector of older people should be included, called Silvers (link to the previous article). These consumers have been transforming their lifestyle habits over the years and, currently, this age group is much more active and has acquired physical activity as part of their daily routine. Are we keeping it in mind in the design of municipal sports policies?
Silvers consumers are a very important group of municipal sports services because most of these people, normally, do not want to practice a federated sport or be part of any sports entity or club, but rather seek the most social and healthy aspect of sport.
So where should local authorities go to attract these customers? Municipal sports services should have an offer adapted to this age and therefore must be aligned with municipal public policies. At the same time, these have to promote the axis of sport for everyone and life by including in their programs activities that promote a type of sports practice that motivates these consumers.
Likewise, the silver consumer encompasses a very wide age group that begins from the age of 60. Depending on the age of this type of consumer, one level of practice or another is sought, also considering the sports itinerary of the practitioner in his youth and adulthood. Depending on the sporting life of the person, as well as their physical level, the offer of municipal activities can be directed towards other non-conventional activities. Gentle gymnastics, maintenance swimming, walks or water activities are the programs that have always been promoted for this age, but with the changing environment and the new generation of 'Silvers', it may be the time when the municipal corporation must reconvert and transform itself.
However, public prices are another aspect to consider because many of the programs and activities have discounts to make sport accessible to people over 60 years of age. On the other hand, but there is a part of the Silvers sector that does not have financial difficulties to access due to having higher rents. With this, should a balance be found to compensate for this situation?
Taking this context into account, it can be determined that a sports service should not only focus on the young and adult public because more and more will be the 'seniors' who will do physical activity and will fill the municipal facilities both in the morning and in the afternoon. For this reason, the sports offer must be adapted to the different motivations and needs, having a range of activities and sports programs that not only include directed activities in the sports centre but also promote physical activity in the open air, such as group outings to the mountains, an exercise in city parks, among others. Also, the situation of the uncertainty of municipal sports facilities must be taken into account and how they increasingly bet on physical activity online, but and the digital gap that exists between people in this age group, how can they access sports practice? How can you work to deliver sports programs?
In the coming years, we will find ourselves facing a trend of increasing sports practice at an older age, who already have internalized the physical activity of previous stages, and this group of users will occupy the municipal sports facilities. Also, they will be interested in practicing sports in spaces that were previously only for the exclusive use of entities, because for example in a few years it will not be very rare to see a group of 55-year-olds who want to spend an hour in the pavilion to make their weekly basketball game. This new paradigm must be on the agenda of municipal sports policies and go ahead with the creation of municipal spaces or programs that seek an alternative to current practice modalities.