Challenging economic conditions have placed additional strain on community sporting clubs, already struggling with running costs, participation numbers and volunteers after COVID-19 and extreme weather events.
Rising costs and falling revenue are pushing almost one in five (18%) community sporting clubs to the brink of collapse. In the past year, smaller clubs in particular are feeling the greatest pressure, with one in four (24%) small community sporting clubs contemplating closing.
More than one in four (27%) clubs are also reporting a decline in registrations among 15-19 year-olds.
Against a backdrop of rising inflation, 52% of clubs surveyed report cost of living impacts as a growing barrier to member registrations.
More than two in three sporting clubs across Australia (68%) have experienced increased running costs, which is a substantial increase from 47% in 2021. For these clubs, running costs have increased on average by $20,529.
These worrying trends, along with positive signs of increased participation amongst females and young people, have been uncovered through on online survey with responses from almost 3,000 community sporting clubs across Australia.
01. 1 in 4 small clubs have considered closing in the last year
02. Rising costs are impacting participation and pushing many clubs towards insolvency
03. Teenagers are continuing to disengage with community sport
04. Clubs are struggling with less volunteers and more administration
05. Clubs want facilities, participation and volunteer support ahead of 2032
With the ongoing fight against COVID-19, we checked in with community sport clubs in June 2021 to see how they were faring.
The survey showed that many clubs’ fears from 2020 had come to fruit, and that COVID-19 was exceptionally damaging to community sport. Clubs struggled financially, lost participants and found it difficult to find volunteers.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Community Sport - (September 2021)
In May and June 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, we created a survey to understand the impact on clubs and the funding they needed to recover.
The survey results showed that community sports clubs are at a crisis point and thousands need urgent and co-ordinated financial support to survive..
The Impact of COVID-19 on Community Sport - (July 2020)
In November and December 2020, with travel restrictions, lockdowns, postponed and cancelled competitions, financial uncertainty and health implications due to COVID-19 we sought to understand the impact the global pandemic has had on our athletes.
We created a short survey to understand the financial, mental and physical impacts on athletes and the support needed to assist. The survey results showed that Australian athletes are underfunded, have limited financial security, and rely on their families or outside employment to survive.
IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON AUSTRALIAN ATHLETES - (May 2021)