Sport, which at its core hasn't changed, has had to make adjustments to a new environment.
With many more individual sports available and people lacking the time to commit to traditional sports, as well as the ever growing e-sports genre, the way people participate in sports will change over the next 30 years.
Sport Whanganui CEO Danny Jonas said there has been a slight decline in kids participating in traditional sports, with a move to a more "general active recreation and play" philosophy.
"For traditional sports to continue, they need to change to meet the needs of the consumer."
Jonas said sports like football, traditionally played in an 11v11 format, could make adaptations like 6v6 or more futsal to keep participation numbers healthy and kids involved.
"They are evolving and they need to continue to evolve."
Jonas said there is a "real risk" of losing kids' participation in sports due to the constant evolution in technology, whether that be gaming or screen-time, slowly playing more prominent roles in their lives.
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"The risk is already there. Technology without a doubt is going to be at the forefront of whatever sport is going to look like in 30 years' time."
E-sports, a form of sport competition using video games, has exploded over the last few years. E-sport athletes have massive platforms thanks to the likes of YouTube and streaming service Twitch, and are able to make massive amounts of money. University scholarships for e-sports are even available for those good enough in certain games.
Jonas said at a conference he went to a number of years ago a presenter asked who thought e-sports was a sport. Maybe a third of those attending put their hand up, Jonas said. After the presentation, the speaker asked the same question and nearly the whole room put their hands up.
Jonas said the presenter used actions like hand-eye co-ordination and reaction time to sell the argument.
"Even the sports purist couldn't argue. Fundamentally, you couldn't really."
The Covid-19 pandemic has rocked the sports world just as much as any sector, with sports having to adapt.
Jonas said there was now virtual racing, such as the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series which drew close to 1 million viewers in the United States.
"They were racing virtually and you hear them speak after, they appear to be as exhausted from the simulation just as much as they would be on the real track."
Jonas said whilst mainstream virtual sports and e-sports are inevitable in the future, physical exercise is crucial for children.
"It's absolutely critical for their wellbeing. Their social skills, interpersonal skills, resilience, the ability to set goals; sport is a pretty powerful vehicle that has many tangible benefits."
Jonas said adults and young people participated in sport for wellbeing but also for a sense of belonging and being part of something.
Professor Andy Martin from Massey University said the nature of sport participation has changed over the years and will continue to change.
"There are many more options now. If we look historically, when we were kids we might have played rugby or football if we were a boy and if we were a girl we would play netball and hockey, for example."
Martin said those traditional sports may have less participation numbers due to schools offering many more options, including more individual sports.
"That change has benefited sport because now there are a whole range of other activities, and some of those activities have become other sports.
"What all sport organisations need to realise is if they don't adapt and change, they will fail."
Martin said format changes, such as to rugby with sevens or touch rugby, and cricket adopting Twenty20 in the last 10 years, tended to be shorter versions of the game.
Changes included sports such as skateboarding, which will make its debut at the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games next year.
Adults had increased work commitments and there had been a shift in focus on fitness.
"A lot of these gyms are open 24/7. People don't have to commit and can go when they like."
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced sports to change how they operate; for example, the Super League Triathlon had 10 of the world's top triathletes competing in an amalgamation of real life running and virtual racing using Zwift technology, Martin said.
"Televised sport is so important for these high performance sports that without TV and the money it brings, these sports will die. The NRL was an example of that; they were desperate to have their sport televised."
Martin said he has noticed a wider range of options for his graduates, including one of his graduates doing his placement with an e-sport organisation.
Whanganui district councillor Philippa Baker-Hogan, a former world rowing champion and Olympian, said she expected to see a drop in organised sport's numbers in the future.
"I can absolutely see Whanganui having more active lifestyles for more of our people, but levels of organised sport may be less, that kind of club membership type of stuff," Baker-Hogan said
"I think we'd be kidding ourselves if we think that some of our more traditional sports won't drop off a bit.
"People will want to do things in their own time, and that suit them, without so much commitment to teams and training.
"We'll be using our beautiful awa, our beaches, and our walkways and cycleways more, as well as travelling more around our region."
Baker-Hogan said it was "critical" that Whanganui turned its people towards healthier lifestyles, and that a lot of it would involve more passive activity such as walking and gardening.
"We have key assets in Whanganui in terms of sports and recreation, and we need to think of the joint use of some of them.
"Places like Springvale and Jubilee Stadiums have a mutual gathering point for people to hang out, or for a youth hub for instance, and I'd hope to have more of our young people driving our sporting initiatives.
"A roofed velodrome will hopefully be well in place in three years, not 30 years, with Cycling New Zealand putting a North Island high performance hub here as well.
"That space is significant, it's two-thirds the size of a rugby field, and with a covered area a lot more activity could take place there."
Baker-Hogan said she expected to see a continuing rise in sports like scootering, skateboarding and BMXing.
"There will be major changes to traditional sports and rowing, my sport, is already moving towards open water events, for instance.
"It's up to communities, councils, health services and our partners like Sport Whanganui to work closely together, and I think in the future there'll be less numbers of agencies and more connection between the ones that do remain.
"The way things are speeding along, there could be two generations worth of change in [30 years], but I think Whanganui is well placed to deal with it."
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