MLSE Foundation Reveals 'Change The Game' Research Results

                                                                                                                                                   Wednesday, July 21, 2021


                     MLSE FOUNDATION REVEALS ‘CHANGE THE GAME’ RESEARCH RESULTS,
                                  THE LARGEST YOUTH SPORTS STUDY OF ITS KIND IN CANADA

       Over 6,800 youth in Ontario participated in the study that examined sports access and equity                                                      factors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic


MLSE Foundation released today the results from its Change the Game research project, which is the
largest race-based study into youth sport access in Canada. In collaboration with the University of
Toronto, more than 6,800 youth aged 6 to 29 and their parents or guardians were surveyed with the
goal of better understanding the impact of COVID-19 on youth sport. The Change the Game research
project is part of the campaign’s commitment into identifying the inequitable barriers youth are facing
and developing data-based solutions to build sport back better.


“A key promise of the Change the Game campaign is investment in research to measure and affect
meaningful change for youth sport access, engagement and equity across Ontario,” said Tanya Mruck,
Executive Director, MLSE Foundation and MLSE LaunchPad. “As leaders in the youth sport space, we
want to share the learnings from developing our initiatives, and in turn encourage other sports
providers to apply these into their own programs. We want to level the playing field so that racialized
youth have the same opportunities to accomplish and reach their goals.”


The study highlights how race, gender, household income level, and regionality heavily impact youths’
ability and motivation to play sports. The report identified the financial burden of participation,
equipment and transportation as the top barriers to play. Youth from Northern Ontario and other
remote communities identified affordability and accessing appropriate transportation to facilities as key
obstacles, which largely affects Indigenous youth.


More than one in three Black youth, one in four Indigenous youth, and one in five BIPOC youth reported
having directly experienced racism in sport, with less than one in three Black or Indigenous youth
having someone to talk to if they experience racism or discrimination in a sport environment. Black
youth were 370 per cent more likely than white youth to prioritize having “coaches that look like me” as
an important factor in retuning to play, underscoring the necessity of hiring and training practices to
support the community being served.


Today, less than 25 per cent of youth are participating in weekly sport activities compared to more than
70 per cent pre-pandemic. More than 30 per cent of girls surveyed are less interested in playing sports
in the wake of the pandemic, which highlights the need for sports facilities to create welcoming and safe
environments through an intersectional lens that includes gender equity.


“The shutdown of organized sport due to COVID-19 provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity to
reflect and reimagine the entire youth sport system, to confront the barriers to access, and to pursue
evidence-based changes,” said Dr. Simon Darnell, Associate Professor, Sport for Development & Peace at the University of Toronto. “With this research, a diverse cross-section of Ontario’s youth told us what
they want and need from sport organizers post-pandemic. If we have the courage to listen and to act,
we can better support youth development outcomes and reform sport based on values of inclusivity,
friendship, safety and fun.”


Based on the data uncovered, researchers recommend further investing in transportation, equipment,
infrastructure and other ancillary costs post-pandemic, recognizing that equitable access to sports is a
means toward achieving positive youth outcomes, particularly in communities where belonging is an
issue. Community connectivity can also be increased by reviewing recruitment and hiring practices for
coaches, staff, and volunteers so youth can learn from leadership that are visibly diverse. While there is
a strong demand among youth and parents to return to play in-person, sound health and safety
measures are critical with 50 per cent of participants placing updated health and safety protocols as an
important key to their willingness to participate.


The ‘Change the Game’ campaign launched in February 2021 with the aim to raise and commit to
investing $30 million to help eliminate barriers facing thousands of youth, giving them more equitable
opportunities to recognize and reach their potential. Acknowledging sport’s ability to change lives, this
campaign was created by MLSE Foundation, the charitable arm of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment,
and introduced as part of the company’s overall commitment to advancing equity, diversity and
inclusion.


To read the full Change the Game research study results along with further recommendations for sports
and recreation providers, funders and policymakers as well as future researchers, visit
www.mlsefoundation.org/how-we-give/research

###


Contact: Charzie Abendanio, MLSE, charzie.abendanio@mlse.com, Tel: (416) 970-4613

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MLSE Foundation Reveals 'Change The Game' Research Results
MLSE Foundation

                                                                                                                                                   Wednesday, July 21, 2021


                     MLSE FOUNDATION REVEALS ‘CHANGE THE GAME’ RESEARCH RESULTS,
                                  THE LARGEST YOUTH SPORTS STUDY OF ITS KIND IN CANADA

       Over 6,800 youth in Ontario participated in the study that examined sports access and equity                                                      factors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic


MLSE Foundation released today the results from its Change the Game research project, which is the
largest race-based study into youth sport access in Canada. In collaboration with the University of
Toronto, more than 6,800 youth aged 6 to 29 and their parents or guardians were surveyed with the
goal of better understanding the impact of COVID-19 on youth sport. The Change the Game research
project is part of the campaign’s commitment into identifying the inequitable barriers youth are facing
and developing data-based solutions to build sport back better.


“A key promise of the Change the Game campaign is investment in research to measure and affect
meaningful change for youth sport access, engagement and equity across Ontario,” said Tanya Mruck,
Executive Director, MLSE Foundation and MLSE LaunchPad. “As leaders in the youth sport space, we
want to share the learnings from developing our initiatives, and in turn encourage other sports
providers to apply these into their own programs. We want to level the playing field so that racialized
youth have the same opportunities to accomplish and reach their goals.”


The study highlights how race, gender, household income level, and regionality heavily impact youths’
ability and motivation to play sports. The report identified the financial burden of participation,
equipment and transportation as the top barriers to play. Youth from Northern Ontario and other
remote communities identified affordability and accessing appropriate transportation to facilities as key
obstacles, which largely affects Indigenous youth.


More than one in three Black youth, one in four Indigenous youth, and one in five BIPOC youth reported
having directly experienced racism in sport, with less than one in three Black or Indigenous youth
having someone to talk to if they experience racism or discrimination in a sport environment. Black
youth were 370 per cent more likely than white youth to prioritize having “coaches that look like me” as
an important factor in retuning to play, underscoring the necessity of hiring and training practices to
support the community being served.


Today, less than 25 per cent of youth are participating in weekly sport activities compared to more than
70 per cent pre-pandemic. More than 30 per cent of girls surveyed are less interested in playing sports
in the wake of the pandemic, which highlights the need for sports facilities to create welcoming and safe
environments through an intersectional lens that includes gender equity.


“The shutdown of organized sport due to COVID-19 provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity to
reflect and reimagine the entire youth sport system, to confront the barriers to access, and to pursue
evidence-based changes,” said Dr. Simon Darnell, Associate Professor, Sport for Development & Peace at the University of Toronto. “With this research, a diverse cross-section of Ontario’s youth told us what
they want and need from sport organizers post-pandemic. If we have the courage to listen and to act,
we can better support youth development outcomes and reform sport based on values of inclusivity,
friendship, safety and fun.”


Based on the data uncovered, researchers recommend further investing in transportation, equipment,
infrastructure and other ancillary costs post-pandemic, recognizing that equitable access to sports is a
means toward achieving positive youth outcomes, particularly in communities where belonging is an
issue. Community connectivity can also be increased by reviewing recruitment and hiring practices for
coaches, staff, and volunteers so youth can learn from leadership that are visibly diverse. While there is
a strong demand among youth and parents to return to play in-person, sound health and safety
measures are critical with 50 per cent of participants placing updated health and safety protocols as an
important key to their willingness to participate.


The ‘Change the Game’ campaign launched in February 2021 with the aim to raise and commit to
investing $30 million to help eliminate barriers facing thousands of youth, giving them more equitable
opportunities to recognize and reach their potential. Acknowledging sport’s ability to change lives, this
campaign was created by MLSE Foundation, the charitable arm of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment,
and introduced as part of the company’s overall commitment to advancing equity, diversity and
inclusion.


To read the full Change the Game research study results along with further recommendations for sports
and recreation providers, funders and policymakers as well as future researchers, visit
www.mlsefoundation.org/how-we-give/research

###


Contact: Charzie Abendanio, MLSE, charzie.abendanio@mlse.com, Tel: (416) 970-4613

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                                                                                                                                                   Wednesday, July 21, 2021


                     MLSE FOUNDATION REVEALS ‘CHANGE THE GAME’ RESEARCH RESULTS,
                                  THE LARGEST YOUTH SPORTS STUDY OF ITS KIND IN CANADA

       Over 6,800 youth in Ontario participated in the study that examined sports access and equity                                                      factors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic


MLSE Foundation released today the results from its Change the Game research project, which is the
largest race-based study into youth sport access in Canada. In collaboration with the University of
Toronto, more than 6,800 youth aged 6 to 29 and their parents or guardians were surveyed with the
goal of better understanding the impact of COVID-19 on youth sport. The Change the Game research
project is part of the campaign’s commitment into identifying the inequitable barriers youth are facing
and developing data-based solutions to build sport back better.


“A key promise of the Change the Game campaign is investment in research to measure and affect
meaningful change for youth sport access, engagement and equity across Ontario,” said Tanya Mruck,
Executive Director, MLSE Foundation and MLSE LaunchPad. “As leaders in the youth sport space, we
want to share the learnings from developing our initiatives, and in turn encourage other sports
providers to apply these into their own programs. We want to level the playing field so that racialized
youth have the same opportunities to accomplish and reach their goals.”


The study highlights how race, gender, household income level, and regionality heavily impact youths’
ability and motivation to play sports. The report identified the financial burden of participation,
equipment and transportation as the top barriers to play. Youth from Northern Ontario and other
remote communities identified affordability and accessing appropriate transportation to facilities as key
obstacles, which largely affects Indigenous youth.


More than one in three Black youth, one in four Indigenous youth, and one in five BIPOC youth reported
having directly experienced racism in sport, with less than one in three Black or Indigenous youth
having someone to talk to if they experience racism or discrimination in a sport environment. Black
youth were 370 per cent more likely than white youth to prioritize having “coaches that look like me” as
an important factor in retuning to play, underscoring the necessity of hiring and training practices to
support the community being served.


Today, less than 25 per cent of youth are participating in weekly sport activities compared to more than
70 per cent pre-pandemic. More than 30 per cent of girls surveyed are less interested in playing sports
in the wake of the pandemic, which highlights the need for sports facilities to create welcoming and safe
environments through an intersectional lens that includes gender equity.


“The shutdown of organized sport due to COVID-19 provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity to
reflect and reimagine the entire youth sport system, to confront the barriers to access, and to pursue
evidence-based changes,” said Dr. Simon Darnell, Associate Professor, Sport for Development & Peace at the University of Toronto. “With this research, a diverse cross-section of Ontario’s youth told us what
they want and need from sport organizers post-pandemic. If we have the courage to listen and to act,
we can better support youth development outcomes and reform sport based on values of inclusivity,
friendship, safety and fun.”


Based on the data uncovered, researchers recommend further investing in transportation, equipment,
infrastructure and other ancillary costs post-pandemic, recognizing that equitable access to sports is a
means toward achieving positive youth outcomes, particularly in communities where belonging is an
issue. Community connectivity can also be increased by reviewing recruitment and hiring practices for
coaches, staff, and volunteers so youth can learn from leadership that are visibly diverse. While there is
a strong demand among youth and parents to return to play in-person, sound health and safety
measures are critical with 50 per cent of participants placing updated health and safety protocols as an
important key to their willingness to participate.


The ‘Change the Game’ campaign launched in February 2021 with the aim to raise and commit to
investing $30 million to help eliminate barriers facing thousands of youth, giving them more equitable
opportunities to recognize and reach their potential. Acknowledging sport’s ability to change lives, this
campaign was created by MLSE Foundation, the charitable arm of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment,
and introduced as part of the company’s overall commitment to advancing equity, diversity and
inclusion.


To read the full Change the Game research study results along with further recommendations for sports
and recreation providers, funders and policymakers as well as future researchers, visit
www.mlsefoundation.org/how-we-give/research

###


Contact: Charzie Abendanio, MLSE, charzie.abendanio@mlse.com, Tel: (416) 970-4613

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