Kids today don’t have the same experiences that generations before have had. As the internet takes over, phones have replaced playtime and e-sports has replaced traditional sports. All this has created a decline in traditional sports, and a decline in play / exercise among kids. So how do we get kids to embrace the biggest sports brand in the world when they aren’t embracing sports?
Kids and adults are motivated by different things.
To keep kids committed to sports, fun must be a key component. 92% of kids are motivated to start sports because they are fun, and 90% of kids cite fun as the number one motivator to continue in sports. But as we move from childhood to adulthood, sports shift from something fun to something more goal-focused, with health and fitness goals being cited as the number one motivator for adults to engage in sports.
Parents tend to focus on winning and losing, while kids focus on everything in between.
When kids were asked what was fun about sports, winning, playing in tournaments, and earning medals and trophies were ranked at the bottom. According to Jay Coakley, sports sociologist, “Kids in baseball say they want to hit, catch, and run. Yet, what do parents do as soon as they take over? Eliminate the hit, catch, and run by telling kids not to swing or maximizing use of a pitcher who strikes everyone out. They eliminate the basis for fun.”
Casual play has taken a backseat to more structured activities.
Prior generations grew up riding bikes and making up games with friends, which delivered hours of physical activity without a goal or outcome in mind. But today free play is taking a back seat to academics and structured activities, as parents prioritize getting their kids sports scholarships and into elite colleges.
Kids are turning to video games for the sports experience (without pressure from parents).
Video games give kids all the best of the sports world (action, experimentation, competition, and social connection), all free from parents critiquing their every word.
The Insight: Youth sports come with a lot of adult pressures.
The amplified competition in youth sports has made it so the kids of today are dealing with very adult scenarios – packed schedules, less time to socialize, and stress.
The Opportunity: Make kids feel like sport is their choice, not something their parents sign them up for.
The Strategy: Empower young athletes to play their own way.
Teammates: Kevin Koller (Creative Director), Brian Vandeputte (Art Direction) Tim Hutchison (Creative Director), Aaron Pollick (Group Creative Director), and many other talented individuals at R/GA