Sports are a major part of society’s fabric all over the world and one of the most popular forms of entertainment. On top of that, all of the major sporting organizations and events around the world are responsible for literally trillions of dollars moving one way or another on a yearly basis, and sports are so intrinsically tied into our way of life and our way of business that it’s almost impossible to imagine what life would be like without sports captivating our attention the way that they do right now.
Unfortunately, according to information released by the United Kingdom Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD), there is a major drop in public trust and public engagement when it comes to professional sports because of performance-enhancing drug use and doping that is so widespread today.
Fans of sports across all spectrums are getting sick and tired of reading about their favorite athletes being caught and found out as cheaters, are sick and tired of reading about how their favorite athletes are finding new ways – and spending small fortunes – to subvert anti-doping protocols, and are getting sick and tired of being tricked into thinking that a match is being played on the level when nothing could be further from the truth.
66% of the British public believes that performance-enhancing drug news discredits sports
Researching the impact that performance-enhancing drug reports have on the viewing public and fans in general, the UK Anti-Doping Agency has recently disclosed that nearly 66% of the British public believes that every negative performance-enhancing drug (PED) story that gets released ends up eroding away at the legitimacy of the sport that it involves – so much so that many of them have stopped believing that these sports are being played on a level playing field.
This has resulted in a considerable drop in interest in a variety of different sports, including soccer, something once thought to be almost impossible.
On top of that, nearly half of all the adults in the United Kingdom believe that doping is widespread because of all the different performance-enhancing drugs stories that are released to the general public. This flies in the face of the actual statistics that only about 5% to 10% of athletes in any particular sport are utilizing performance-enhancing drugs or banned substances, but the proliferation of coverage on these kinds of negative stories is having an overwhelmingly negative impact on the perception of the sports themselves.
The UK Anti-Doping Agency is looking for new ways to improve public trust
It’s interesting that complete and total transparency about the performance-enhancing drug situation in sports all over the United Kingdom is actually proving to have a negative impact on the enjoyment of and participation in sports all over the UK.
Every time this agency is transparent about broken protocols, banned substance abuse, and athletes that have been caught cheating they actually hurt their sport with negative public perception – something that leadership at the UK Anti-Doping Agency never would have anticipated or expected.
This requires a new approach to how news is released, and the leadership at the UKADA is looking to find ways to better improve public trust, public perception, and foster improve relationships between sports, athletes, and the fans that make these organizations and sporting events possible in the first place. It’s impossible to know exactly how things are going to shake out moving forward, but it is going to be interesting to see the kinds of changes and solutions the UKADA decides to implement – especially if they are implemented by other organizations around the world.