The Sports-Infused Fitness Trend: Incorporating Urban Sports Facilities into Community Spaces

September 6, 2023


When breaking down what makes a specific sport popular, accessibility is an underrated feature. While it may not be as exciting of an answer as how much money a given league brings in, how intense the action is or how brutal the hits are—if we’re talking about collision sports like American football and hockey—the simple fact of the matter is that it’s easiest to bring in fans of a new sport if it’s one that’s easy for them to play.

Accessibility matters, whether you’re watching a game on TV or reaching out to prospective athletes who may not have the time, money or experience to take part in more complicated games. It’s one of the first things urban planners should keep in mind when trying to set up sporting facilities for a community so that they know they’re going to be reaching out to the most people they possibly can in the most efficient fashion.

Sporting Accessibility: A Crash Course

Of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, the National Hockey League has long lagged behind its competitors because ice hockey isn’t as accessible to the average person. One hockey stick costs anywhere from $50 to $350, which is a hefty charge to cover when a player is likely to need a new one every couple months, and that’s before you consider the cost of other equipment like skates and chest pads, or the rarity of ice rinks to play at (unless you’re in the Northern United States or Canada, where the temperatures are cold enough to support the game on a consistent basis).

The reason why sports like soccer and basketball maintain a worldwide level of popularity is because anyone can play them at relatively low costs: all you need is a playing surface and objects to serve as the ball and goals. At its most basic, you’ll hear stories of players from humble backgrounds creating makeshift soccer balls out of tape, cloth and other bits of refuse or making a basketball hoop out of a wire coat hanger.

Those are extreme examples, to be sure, but they illustrate just how much the simplicity of a game can make it accessible to people from all walks of life: why shell out for a skating rink that a tiny percentage of people could use for half the year, when a soccer field or basketball court will encourage large groups of people to have fun and be active throughout the year?

Supporting Soccer

Professional soccer hasn’t ever managed to catch on in the United States like it has in the rest of the world, although that could change now that seven time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi plays for CF Inter Miami, making the club one of the favorites for bettors using Caesars Sportsbook Promo Codes.


With that being said, the pro game isn’t everything, and there’s a vibrant underground soccer culture here in the United States, whether it’s kids getting their first taste of sports in U6, older kids playing travel ball or for their school teams, or older adults using sports as a way to have fun and stay healthy.

Keeping the theme of accessibility in mind, another nice thing about providing areas to play soccer in urban spaces is the flexibility it offers. A basketball court is a specialized playing space that can’t really be used for other activities, whereas the large open area used for soccer can also support sports like flag football, games like tag for younger kids, or even games like baseball and kickball if players are ready to get creative with what they use for bases.

You can even build up the area around the soccer fields, having walking paths for those who want to exercise without playing sports, or placing down benches for those who want to watch pickup games, fostering a sense of community through athletics.

The Final Word

While I’ve already made the case for large outdoor recreation areas like soccer fields, here are a couple more things to consider when planning how to use community spaces.

One of the chief selling points for basketball is the size of the court. If you’re in a city, you may not have enough space to build a parklet or soccer field on the fly. At its most compact, a halfcourt basketball surface is just 1400 square feet, 50 feet by 28 feet. That’s much easier to sneak in than a larger playing surface, so it’s something to keep in mind if space is an issue.

Lastly, I want to underline the importance of simplicity once again. Community centers with gym equipment are another popular trend these days, but offering equipment like weight machines can create risky situations if patrons aren’t adequately trained or supervised: if you want to have something more complex, make sure you have resources in place so that they can be used in a safe fashion.


Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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