The Central Statistics Office (CSO) recently published results of the 2015-16 Household Budget Survey (HBS). The HBS is a survey of a representative random sample of all private households in the State. It is carried out every 5 years and is used to determine the pattern of weekly household expenditures in order to update the weighting basis of the Consumer Price Index which measures the rate of inflation. The most recent survey covered 6,839 households.
I have previously examined sports related expenditure data using data from the 2009-10 round of the HBS, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Using the 2015-16 HBS, I will examine four categories of sports expenditures, spectator sports (admission charges), participant sports (excl. subscriptions), subscriptions to sports and social clubs and fees to leisure classes. Over the next few weeks I will examine these expenditures in relation to a range of factors including location, income, social group, livelihood status, household composition, household size and deprivation indicators. Fortunately, these four expenditures were defined in the exact same way in the 2009-10 survey so a comparison can also be made with this data set. Recent research that I have published using sports expenditure data from the 2004-05 and 2009-10 HBS’s, indicated that the recession had an effect on sports spending but only for certain categories and primarily spectator sports. For other sports expenditures, household characteristics play just as important a role. Thus, it will be interesting to see what has happened 5 years on since the last HBS release.
In this blog post, I will look at location. Figures 1 to 4 show weekly expenditure data for the 4 categories of sports mentioned above by state and by urban, rural location using both the 2009-10 and 2015-16 HBS data (Note: 2009-10 expenditure data has been deflated to provide a more appropriate comparison). Firstly, it is interesting to observe that spending for 3 of the categories has increased (participant sports, subscriptions to sports and social clubs and fees to leisure classes) and only spending on spectator sports has decreased between the two surveys. As previously mentioned spending on spectator sports is particularly influenced by economic conditions so perhaps there is still a hangover from the economic recession. Of the categories where spending has increased, participant sport spending has nearly doubled and subscriptions to sports and social clubs has more than doubled. Clearly this is good news in terms of the overall policy of increasing levels of sports participation (whilst bearing in mind that spending doesn't necessarily equate exactly with participation). The strong level of increase is perhaps surprising and a number of factors could be at play including increased awareness of health benefits (e.g. Operation Transformation) and possibly a post Celtic tiger shift in preferences from work to leisure time.
Figures 5 to 8 show weekly expenditure data for the 4 categories of sports by regional location. It is clear from the graphs that regional variations in spending exist. Dublin tends to lead the way particularly in spending on club subscriptions followed by the Mid-East region. The Border, Midlands and South-West regions tend to have the lowest spending on sports. Clearly, population and the propensity of urban centres are underlying factors here. While all regions tend to experience increases in sports spending, evidence of convergence between the regions is more difficult to see as opposed to the convergence in urban-rural spending mentioned in the previous set of figures. The patterns of spending on spectator sports across regions deserves some further mention as there appears to be a substantial regional shift for this categore. Spending in the Dublin, Mid-East and Mid-West regions all fall between 2009-10 and 2015-16 while spending in the Midlands and West regions increase. As with the corresponding urban rural data, it is hard to know what is causing this. The West region in particular has seen close to 3-fold increase in spectator sports spending albeit from a low base. I wonder if it’s a Mayo Gaelic football effect!