One of the oldest participatory sports activities in the world is Gymnastics. The sport’s activities require physical strength, agility, flexibility, coordination balance and grace which enable performers to perform extraordinary moves. There are many gymnast sports but artistic arts are the best known of them all.
Men and women gymnastic activities both involve vault and floor exercises. The rest of the activities are specialized including balance beams and uneven parallels for females and pommel horse and parallel bars for males. Besides artistic gymnastics, other sports under the wide gymnastics field include rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline.
Like all sporting activities nowadays, gymnastics is a big business sports that involves many industries that are interconnected together. These sectors together develop gymnastic programs for sporting entertainment. In this paper, the market profile of gymnastics will be examines through an overview of the sport, current consumers, the demand for the sporting activity and the future prospects of the sport.
Gymnastics can trace its origins to the ancient Greek. The ancient Greeks performed a number of gymnastic exercises for fun and recreation. Individuals especially children and young adults were encouraged to perform athletic feats according to their own notion.
The authorities then incorporated these feats into the curriculum of the Greek education system and gymnastics was performed besides art and music. After the ascension of the Roman Empire, gymnastics was used for military training and soldiers were required to perform the gymnastic feats in preparation for hand-to-hand combat (Colin and Shelia p 1).
Gymnastics governing body Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) was founded in the year 1881 and facilitated gymnastic competitions in the first Olympic Games in the 1896. Different types of exercises including some from the circus evolved with time and developed to form the current gymnastic moves that characterize the industry (Colin and Shelia p 1).
Gymnastics nowadays is a major sporting activity wit thousands of participants from different countries. The most dominant countries include Japan, Russia, China, the US Romania, Germany, Hungary, and Italy.
The sport has over time continued to grow since its inception. For along time Japan produced the world’s best gymnast only to be overtaken by Russia and China ad the US. Participation of the sports is almost presented in all major competitions including the Olympic, All Africa games, European championships, Pan-American games, common wealth games, and Asian games.
In the countries mentioned above the sport is well developed and in some cases like the US it has been integrated into the education curriculum In the US for instance there are over 5000 gymnastics clubs with an estimated membership that tops 100,000. Some of the equipments used in gymnastics include chalks, mats, braces, and apparatus. Others are balance beams, pommel horse and vaulting table. Gymnastics is performed by both men and women especially of all ages (Verrow. et al 40).
Considering gymnastics is part of sports entertainment, there are passive consumers who mainly make up the fan base of gymnastic enthusiasts. These groups of consumers are involved in gymnastic events for fun. They mainly consume in a business sense display gymnastics normally performed by groups of athletes numbering 6- 150. These athletes perform highly synchronized moves that are choreographed to easily followed routines (Verrow. et al 46).
One of the world’s most famous gymnastic events performed by gymnasts for casual consumers if the World Gymnaestrada. Gymnastics also perform in circuses like the MonteCarlo circus for passive consumers. They mainly attend gymnastic events to enjoy gymnastic events as performed by professional gymnasts. The kind of activities these consumers enjoy are laced with acrobatic and balance moves.
Besides the casual consumers of gymnastics describes above, there are core consumers of gymnastics that engage in gymnastics especially for sports. They include aerobic gymnast popular in sports. Aerobic gymnastics involves routine performances by individuals normally in pairs or trio.
The performances emphasize flexibility, strength, and fitness. It is important to note that this form of gymnastic does not involve acrobatics and balance. Many sports teams in different categories such as soccer, American football, and athletics employ these kinds of gymnastics in their trainings (Conrad 87).
Gymnastics is a young sport in terms of consumption and market penetration. Participation is concentrated in pockets inconsistently distributed in the world. Only a handful of countries mentioned earlier have fully developed gymnastic sports ventures. As its popularity grows especially with the entry of the Chinese into the competitive club of gymnastics, the demand for the sporting event is growing steadily.
One of the factors that have led to the unprecedented growth of gymnastics is the advancement in technology. The Chinese especially are on record as having finely fused the Japans and Russian styles of gymnastics to produce unique Chinese moves. They have been able to achieve this though technology (Conrad 87).
Popularity of the sport in the US has led to growth in demand of the coaches. As result, the country has contracted the services of coaches from traditionally gymnastic powerhouses such as Russia, Japan, and Europe. Many colleges and universities due to growing demand have incorporated gymnastics into their curriculums in order to satisfy the demand.
However, some experts point to a discouraging trend in the sport. There has been failure to develop new performed elements in the last decade. Jozsa says that the number of new elements developed between 1994 to 1999 is less than the new elements developed between 1987 and 1993. The experts blame the lack of development in bad judgment and lack of creativity in the sport (68).
Considering the sport is not saturated like say soccer, there is potential fro growth in the next ten 5-10 years. According to Rosner, there is a new code in the judgment and evaluation of gymnastics that has discouraged innovation effectively hampering the development of new elements (38). He further says that the new code has discouraged creativity because coaches and gymnagists don’t see the values of developing new elements. If the trend continues, the sport is likely to be monotonous and risks losing its entertainment value.
The future of gymnastics is bright and there is likely to be significant growth in the next 5-10 years but, only if the sports leaders adhere to the following; development of new performance elements, assessing the difficulty of the elements and emphasis on the originality of the elements performed. The last point included connections and routine construction.
Additionally there needs to major investment in the sport considering the equipment used are capital intensive. The field of competition will also need to be expanded in the next decade for its participation and fan base to equal other major sports. That way gymnastics is assured of growth.
Colin, Blakemore and Shelia, Jennett. “Gymnastics.” The Oxford Companion to the Body. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. 19 Jul. 2011
Conrad, Mark. The Business of Sports: A Primer for Journalists. Burlington: InfoBase Publishers, 2010.
Jozsa, Frank. Big sports, big business: a century of league expansions, mergers. London: Routledge, 2006. Print.
Rosner, Scott and Shropshire, Kenneth. The business of sports. New York: Routledge, 2004.
Verrow, Row. et al.Sports business: law, practice and precedents. New York: Sage Publishers, 2005. Print.