There is a lack of sports facilities in the Czech Republic, but Czechs are willing to spend money on sports. They invest an average of CZK 758 per month in sports
There is a lack of sports facilities in the Czech Republic. Almost a fifth of Czechs is not satisfied with the offer of sports facilities in their neighbourhood, and 43% of respondents say they miss swimming pools the most in the Czech Republic. There is also a strong demand for fitness centres and yoga studios in particular. The small offer of sports facilities does not meet the demand of Czechs, who are willing to spend almost CZK 800 per month on sports. The situation is expected to worsen dramatically at the beginning of the following year when many sports centres will have to cope with rising energy costs by raising prices or closing down completely.
The demand for sports facilities in the Czech Republic is growing, but the current sports infrastructure is lagging. It cannot adequately meet the needs of Czech sportspeople, according to the results of the regular MultiSport Index survey. A total of 43% of Czechs miss having a swimming pool near their home. There is also a high demand for fitness centres, which 37% of people lack, a tenth more than in 2020. More than a quarter of people would appreciate more gyms and popular yoga centres. At the same time, as the winter season approaches, a fifth of people will have nowhere to go skating due to a lack of skating, ice and hockey rinks.
“It is clear that Czechs are interested in physical activity and a wider range of sports facilities. The problem, however, is that the sports infrastructure is insufficient to meet the demand of the sportspeople. During the two years of the pandemic, Czechs have become particularly fond of yoga, and our research has shown that demand for yoga centres has increased by 5% compared to 2020 during the lockdowns. But people are missing those facilities in their neighbourhood. Another problem is the upcoming winter season when there will be a shortage of ice rinks, whose operation will be unsustainable given the dramatic rise in energy prices,” says Miroslav Rech, CEO of MultiSport Benefit, a company which offers the popular MultiSport card.
The residents of the South Moravian Region are the ones who feel the most the lack of sports facilities. 67% of people there are missing indoor and outdoor swimming pools, which is two-fifths of South Moravians more than in 2020. However, more than two-fifths also lack fitness centres, which Czechs miss in almost all regions. In Ústí nad Labem region, on the other hand, 43% of people would appreciate having racket sports facilities or courts. But they claim to have enough fitness centres.
A significant difference can also be seen in the lack of climbing and bouldering walls, which are missing for 18% of sportspeople living mainly in towns with less than 100,000 inhabitants. There is also a lack of racket sports facilities and courts in smaller cities.
Czechs and their willingness to spend money on sports
After a difficult two-year covid crisis, Czech sports facilities have barely had time to catch their breath and are already facing another crisis. As a result of the sharp rise in energy prices, they have to find a way to finance their operations. This can lead to higher prices or, in many cases, to the complete closure of facilities. Swimming pools and ice rinks have the highest energy costs and will be the most affected. According to the Czech Statistical Office, the more than 244,000 people employed in the sports sector could also be fundamentally threatened.
“At the moment, sports facilities are still able to operate because Czechs want to do sports. The sports facilities informed us that they are returning to their pre-covid attendance levels in the full season. As a result, they have been able to cope with rising energy prices and did not have to drastically increase their prices yet. However, supporting sports facilities should not only be in the interest of individuals. It is also in the state’s interest to preserve jobs and, above all, the population’s health,” says Jana Havrdová, president of the Czech Chamber of Fitness.
According to the results of the survey, Czechs are willing to pay more for sports, but they are often missing such sports facilities in their area. Compared to 2020, they spend CZK 250 more on sports, which averages at CZK 758 per month. Residents of the Central Bohemian Region and Prague spend the most on sports, with an average of CZK 860 per month. Residents of the Zlín region spend the least, with CZK 353 per month.
Spending on sports is also influenced by satisfaction with the offer of sports facilities available in the region. In the Pilsen region, the lack of sports facilities, especially fitness centres, which are missed by up to 60% of the population, reduces the willingness to invest in sports. As a result, Pilsen residents spend only CZK 514 per month on sports.
“The lack of sports facilities in many regions of the Czech Republic is preventing more money from being spent on sports. As a result of price increases, sports will become less accessible to people over time. In the worst case, many sports facilities will close down entirely. In my opinion, it makes more sense to support sports facilities now than to let them close down and build a completely new sports infrastructure when the crisis is over,” concludes Miroslav Rech.