The investment in promoting lawn bowls to a much wider audience over the past few years is beginning to show results with official figures showing that participation in the sport in Auckland Bowls Centre has grown for the second consecutive year. The latest figures show that close to 35000 people took to the greens around the city in 2018 an increase of just over 4000 people on the previous year. This is the highest number of participants ever recorded over a 12-month period.
Auckland Bowls General Manager, Phil Vyver said, “We are delighted with the latest participation figures which reflects favourably on the work and investment that Auckland Bowls and our clubs have dedicated to promoting bowls to a wider audience. We are clearly seeing the benefits of this investment, particularly amongst players outside of our traditional demographics.”
The biggest area of growth is in casual participants who are competing in social bowling tournaments that clubs offer to non-members throughout summer. These events are proving very appealing to a much younger demographic that is looking to unplug from the hectic daily life of the digital age and engage with people in a fun social environment.
AucklandBowls hope that the long-term impact of the increase in participation will lead to a reversal of the current trend of dwindling club membership. The strategy is already showing signs that this is the case with the number of 1styear members increasing by 75% on the previous year. Phil said, “It is very encouraging to see growth in the number of participants and particularly new members which reflects on the value that clubs can offer new players, such as coaching and great community facilities.