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How Cities Benefit from Having Sporty And Fit Citizens

by Grace » on Jun 17, 2018 0


A lot of times you’ll hear about what unique attributes cities have to offer — it’s always framed as, “Here’s what you’ll get if you visit or live in this place.” What about the opposite, though? At the end of the day, citizens bring a lot to to an area. It’s their collective culture and behaviors that shape how a city will be prioritized in development.

At My Five Fingers we’re all about fitness, so we decided to look further into how cities benefit from citizens like us. We focused on the type of people who are focused on healthy eating, follow professional athletes, are into running, are generally knowledgeable about health topics, etc. We then applied the typical behaviors of this type of person to see how they impact a city.


They bring in vendors of local produce, farmers markets, and other healthy food choices

Businesses exist to serve a need in a market, and fit individuals create a market for healthy foods simply by being present in an area. It’s simply that healthy people typically eat fresh foods, like fruits and vegetables, so their being in a city gives local growers an audience that would buy their products at a farmers market or something similar. The same logic applies to food co-ops, CSAs, organic food grocery stores, and more.

Not only does the presence of these healthy food options attract more healthy residents, but it also benefits the economy. According to the USDA, “local food sales from farmers markets, food hubs, CSAs, farm stands and farm to schools programs have grown from from about $5 billion in 2008 to $11.7 billion in 2014.” They also note that much of the spending related to these is filtered back into the local economy — even better for the city!


They create a market for large sporting events and bigger stars

It’s certainly not as simple as more sporty people in an area leading to more sports teams, but over time it does factor in. In one of the largest headlines of the 2018 NBA offseason, Kawhi Leonard’s potential earnings are being discussed in terms of his sponsorship opportunities in different cities. In other words, he’d be paid more by sponsors (e.g. Nike) if he played for a team in a larger market than San Antonio, such as Los Angeles or Boston. This means that the sponsors take into account the people in a city that would be interested in purchasing their gear with his name on it.

In the NBA especially, having stars is how cities win championships. So markets bring in stars, then stars bring teams to the Finals, then cities reap in the economic benefit of hosting and/or winning the championship. One analysis found that Finals winning cities see larger economic boosts than losing cities on average when looking at the change in economic measures annually. It’s also undeniable that simply hosting large sporting events, such as the Finals, a major marathon, or the SuperBowl, brings in a lot of revenue to the city. And, this is all thanks to the people of the city who are interested in professional sports.


They attract fun, fitness-related activities

Even if you’re an avid athlete but aren’t looking to seriously compete, it can be fun to participate in local events like 5Ks or obstacle courses. Some of these events are only local, of course, but some are nationally run and are put on in different cities throughout the year. Event planners choose locations after doing their research and determining it’s a place where there are people interested in participating.

You can roughly tell which cities inhabit the type of people that these event planners target by looking at the lists of “best 5k cities” or simply by searching to see which places have the most nationally planned fitness events. These types of events provide an opportunity for people to interact with others who are excited about exercising. Plus, sometimes winners can even get a prize.


Overall, there are undeniable benefits to a city having a fit population. More than anything else, it creates a market for many fun activities that ultimately produce revenue for the area.


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