Supply and Demand, how connecting with your target market leads to inclusion success

The supply and demand model was developed by the Australian Sports Commission in the early 2000’s under the Sports CONNECT initiative. The model borrows from a simple concept fundamental in the world of business. Where successful businesses “supply” products or services that either meet or drive the “demand” of their consumers and clients. Good businesses understand their consumers needs and wants then design and deliver products and services accordingly.

Figure 1. Supply and Demand model venn diagram.

Good businesses understand their consumers needs and wants then design and deliver products and services accordingly.

In the context of inclusive sport this model provides sport practitioners with an understanding of the interaction between sport program provision and the target markets they wish to engage in participation. Originally designed with the disability market in mind, it holds true for any target market you may be seeking to engage in your sport activities.

The supply and demand model states that sport providers have a responsibility to supply opportunities for engagement that meet the explicit needs of targeted population groups. While on the other hand also acknowledging that there is a demand from the prospective target market to participate in these sport options.

Figure 2. Supply and Demand model in the context of sport.

Successful engagement relies on addressing both sides of this equation, that is, inclusion happens when the supply meets the demand. However in inclusive sport and in business demand does not always happen on its own. Demand needs to be fostered and driven. The old adage of “build it they will come” does not apply here.

Consider your sport opportunities as a new product seeking an un-aware market of potential consumers.

Consider your sport opportunities as a new product seeking an un-aware market of potential consumers. There is no point designing programs or activities for your target market if it is not designed to meet their needs or if they are not aware of the opportunity in the first place.

So there is a key interaction that must occur. Sport needs to engage with its target market. Involve them in the design of programs and activities and then market these new opportunities directly to them. Sport providers need to work on both the supply and demand sides.

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Sports CONNECT Framework (2002-2010). Australian Sports Commission.