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Community sport and the newcomer experience in small cities

John Nadeau (School of Business, Nipissing University, North Bay, Canada)
Norm O'Reilly (College of Business, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)
Alexander Scott (School of Business, Nipissing University, North Bay, Canada)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 9 May 2016




This research reports on work related to integrating new immigrants into their local communities. The purpose of this paper is to explore community sport and the newcomer experience in communities through an acculturation framework.


The role of community sport organizations in the acculturation process is explored empirically via a three-stage research study of a small Canadian city that includes interviews with local newcomers, interviews with managers of local community sport organizations, and a website content analysis of community sport organizations in the region.


Results outline a number of important constraints, practices and realities facing newcomers and community sport organizations in improving participation rates and integration. In addition, the use of the acculturation frame provides insight on the perceived value of community sport yet low participation rates among newcomers.

Practical implications

There is a need for community sport providers to adopt an acculturation perspective to newcomers rather than the current assimilationist perspective. This change will lead to improvements in sport offerings and newcomer supports.


There is an increasing desire to have migrants locate in smaller urban centers rather than the large metropolises of their new home country. However, smaller communities may be perceived by newcomers as less desirable places to live and the communities can face significant integration challenges. Further, there is a dearth of research on newcomers and smaller communities particularly in the area of community sport. This study explores the role of sport as a means to overcome these challenges by assessing the capacity of a smaller city and the needs of immigrants and their families using a lens of acculturation.



The authors wish to sincerely thank North Bay and District Multicultural Centre and the North Bay Newcomer Network for their support of this research.


Nadeau, J., O'Reilly, N. and Scott, A. (2016), "Community sport and the newcomer experience in small cities", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 110-136.



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