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Dennis R. Howard

The extent to which American adults reported participating in selected sport and fitness activities over the past decade was examined. Data were obtained from Simmons Market Research Bureau, Inc., which produces annually the largest and most representative measure of adult sport, recreation, and fitness participation in the United States. Despite optimistic projections for sustained growth in participation rates by sport and fitness industry representatives, trend analysis revealed that participation in all but one of the activities examined had declined substantially. For each of the sport and fitness activities analyzed, active participation was confined to a very small percentage of the total adult population. Participants were divided into three segments (light, medium, and heavy) based on the frequency of their participation. Segment analysis supported the core/fringe concept—a small, active core of heavy users accounted for the majority of total participation volume, particularly in sport activities. Analysis of gender differences found female representation as a proportion of total participation declined substantially over the decade in racquetball, tennis, and jogging. Implications for professional practice and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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Jeffrey L. Stinson and Dennis R. Howard

As both academic and athletic programs have become increasingly reliant on private support, the relationship between academic and athletic fund-raising has drawn increased research attention. The current study seeks to clarify the disparate findings of previous research by using the Voluntary Support of Education database of private support to colleges and universities to examine giving by alumni and nonalumni to academic and athletic programs at institutions participating in NCAA Division I-A football. Linear mixed-model analyses revealed the moderating role of academic reputation on institutional giving. Total giving to schools with the strongest academic reputations was less susceptible to the changing fortunes of athletic teams than total giving to institutions not included in the top tier of academically ranked schools. Although the top-ranked schools appeared immune to the influence of athletic performance, analysis of allocation patterns indicated that an increasing percentage of total dollars donated was directed to athletic programs at all levels of schools.

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Daniel F. Mahony and Dennis R. Howard

The purpose of this paper is to briefly look back at the sport industry in the 1990s and to make some predictions for the sport industry in the upcoming decade. The 1990s were particularly strong for the sport industry, exceeding the highly optimistic predictions made at the beginning of the decade (Rosner, 1989). However, the authors predict a general decline in the U.S. economy, which will certainly impact the sport industry. Because of a number of problems currently facing the sport industry, including increased competition, heavy debt, and poor relations with consumers, sport industry professionals will need to use some creative strategies in order to continue to thrive. Some of these strategies include taking advantage of new technology; exploiting the big events, rivalries, and stars; tapping new markets; improving targeting efforts; attempting to reconnect with traditional fans/consumers; using creative financing; cutting the budget more frequently; and increasing synergy.

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John L. Crompton and Dennis R. Howard

Economic impact studies are frequently commissioned to justify investments in sport projects. However, decisions also should include a consideration of a project’s costs since it is the net return on investment that should drive decisions. Whenever taxpayer funds are expended on a sports project there is an opportunity cost. Three types of opportunity cost are discussed. Explicit costs are those for which a government entity “writes a check.” They are comprised of event costs, land and infrastructure costs, and operations and maintenance costs. Implicit costs are those which remain “hidden” from most taxpayers: foregone property taxes, strategic underestimation of capital costs, displacement costs, and an inequitable nexus between payers and beneficiaries. External costs are those incurred by taxpayers beyond the boundaries of a local jurisdiction.

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John L. Crompton, Dennis R. Howard and Turgut var

This paper identifies the pervasiveness, magnitude, and trends of public investment in major league sports facilities and describes the forces that typically direct and dictate the debate. In 2003 dollars, the total investment in facilities currently being used by franchises in the four major leagues in North America is almost $24 billion, of which over $15 billion was contributed by public entities. Four eras of funding these facilities are identified and described: the Gestation Era 1961-1969; the Public Subsidy Era 1970-1984; the Transitional (Public-Private Partnership) Era 1985-1994; and the Fully-Loaded (Private-Public Partnership) Era post 1994. There is a consistent trend of private contributions increasing across these eras, but public sector contributions remain substantial. The final section of the paper discusses the four primary sources of momentum undergirding this public investment: owner leverage, the community power structure, the stimulus of increasing costs, and the competitive balance rationale.