Is Swimming Recession Proof?
by, November 9th, 2008 at 11:57 AM (937 Views)
Competitive swimming is a upper middle class sport. It is much more expensive to construct, maintain and operate an aquatic facility than the facilities required for other sports - softball, basketball, tennis and football. Perhaps NASCAR or golf facilities are more expensive in terms of construction and operation costs, but swimming is right up there.
We are getting ready to go to the Long Beach Grunion meet in December and the cost of travel has clearly increased. We are looking at significant increases in airfare, rental car, hotel, meals, parking, gas and entry fees (which has not increased thank goodness!). Although I complain about travel related costs, other important groups are also faced with the same or greater cost increases. Age group swimmers and their families face significantly greater travel related costs to participate in regional or state competitions. High school and college teams may face budget cuts. I heard (NPR) that Philadelphia is planning to close public pools until the financial situation improves.
Many, many years ago, I worked on a research project that investigated the economic impact of an major oil spill on tourism in the Galveston area. We used something called a Leontif matrix to assess the impact of decreased tourism on various sectors of the area's economy. For example, if fewer tourists decide to vacation, the hotels suffer a direct impact. But the businesses that support the hotel - food supply, travel services, Jose's Tacos all are effected in a secondary and tetriary effects. I didn't think about it at the time, but there is a time dimension to the matrix - the economic impacts probably ripple through related business (and time) much like dropping a pebble into a glassy pool.
If the global economy does go into a recession, I guess that it will have an effect on the upcoming FINA games in Norway(?) and may affect participation in our regional and national events.
The big question is "how will the recession affect your ability to swim (for exercise and for sport)?" Will your pool costs increase or will the availability (in terms of hours) be reduced - or both.
I expect that the global recession will have secondary and tertiary impacts and that we, as swimmers, will be affected.