Sport England says Rowing participation is falling


Remember the Olympic Legacy promises of increased sporting participation?  I bet you think your rowing club is still hugely popular and memberships are rising across the country.


Latest survey shows rowing has lost participants and is in the bottom half of all sports surveyed.

Rowing loses particpants
Rowing loses particpants

The actual data shows that 78,500 people said they rowed at least once a week in the year April 2012-3 and only 66,300 in the year from October 2012 to Oct 2013.  This includes indoor rowing as well as water rowing.

What’s your local situation like?  Are your memberships falling or rising?

one million sports participation indicator ?fail


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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Johan Hoeke

    weird how cycling and athletics seem to benefit from recent successes (TdF, London2012) but rowing didnt despite good results?

    1. Natalie A

      One thing is because all those sports are much more accessible. On-water rowing very much depends on your location. I was inspired by the 2012 olympics to pick the sport up – previously I’d never been exposed due to my location! I then decided to make the big choice and move 50 miles away from my home to be closer to the hub of British rowing in the south, Henley, and that’s only because I fell in love with the sport! Otherwise, even being inspired by the great GB athletes I would have found it very hard to participate in an actual rowing club if I hadn’t moved. Whereas my hometown has multiple running, cycling and athletics clubs like I’m sure is the case in almost all British towns.

      I think participation also falls as a lot of clubs run off a 6-day a week training program, and it might be hard for people new to the sport to find a club where it would be easy for them to pick and choose when to do some social rowing (unless they’re happy to spend lots of sessions in singles, which for most social rowers I don’t think this is the case) whereas with other clubs like cycling its much easier to drop in and out when you please a it isn’t so squad dependent. I suspect a huge number of people took up a ‘Learn-to-row’ course like I did after the olympics, but then found they didn’t have the time to sink into the sport.

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