Understanding the role of international sport events on sport and exercise participation
: An examination of hosted and postponed events among different age segments

  • Ryuta Yoda

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

Abstract

The 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games were both expected to take place in Japan with a one-year interval. Building on these cases, the initial aim of this study was to understand the impact of hosting consecutive international sport events on the attitude and behaviours towards participation in sport and exercise among different age groups. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, disrupted public health and led to the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games As a result, since there was uncertainty on whether the Games would be hosted during the development of the current study (or at all), two revised aims were set. The first aim was to explore the impact of hosting an international sport event on sport and exercise participation among different age groups. The second aim was to critically analyse how the COVID-19 pandemic and related postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games may have affected attitude towards participation and actual behaviours among the host citizens.
Two waves of semi-structured interviews with the same individuals were conducted in Tokyo (venues for both international sport events) and Oita (a venue for the 2019 Rugby World Cup). The sample comprised individuals in the age groups of 20-29 years old and 60-79 years old who watched the 2019 Rugby World Cup in the venues or through the live broadcasting. Across the two waves, a total of 106 interviews were conducted. The interviews were recorded and transcribed, before being coded on NVivo and analysed.
The results from the 1st wave of data collection highlight the importance of the demonstration effect on changing attitude towards participation in sport and exercise and/or actual behaviours. A comparison of the two age groups suggests that a higher percentage of 20s than 60-70s claimed an increased motivation to either start or maintain their participation in sport and exercise, and despite 20s being less active than participants in 60-70s. The results from the 2nd wave of data collection suggest that the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games had no impact on attitude towards participation and actual behaviours. On the other hand, the COVID-19 pandemic affected attitude towards participation and actual behaviours both positively and negatively. For the 20s, the most common reason for improved attitude was that they felt a reduction in their physical activity due to increased remote working and realised that they needed to do sport and exercise. This led to change in their behaviour, including for previously inactive participants. Overall, the pandemic had more impacts on the 20s than the 60-70s, mostly because of the nature of sport and exercise activities they engage in, and external constraints (e.g., facility closure).
The results of the current research add to the existing body of literature suggesting that active people are often more inspired by international sport events. This research indicates this trend only applies for younger individuals (20s) and not for older individuals (60-70s). Also, the current findings suggest the importance for policy makers of promoting short and entertaining sport and exercise programmes.
Date of AwardDec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorRui Biscaia (Supervisor), Benoit Senaux (Supervisor) & Ian Brittain (Supervisor)

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