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Changing tactics

Children playing tennis
Australia’s sporting clubs have the potential to recruit over 1.1 million Australian primary school aged children in spo

31 May 2013

Australia’s sporting clubs have the potential to recruit an additional 3.8 million members if they embrace new ways of delivering sport, according to a new report.

The Market Segmentation for Sport Participation for Adults research report — commissioned by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) — reveals that club-based sports have a wealth of opportunities to grow, but to do so they will need to adapt to changing consumers needs and lifestyle choices.

The research confirms that sports preferences have changed over the last 10 years, with an increased uptake in sport being played in a non-organised environment.

As part of the study, 10 consumer segments among the adult population (aged 14 to 65 years) were identified to assist clubs to develop targeted strategies to attract and retain new participants. Three of these were singled out as having the greatest potential to increase club membership:

• Sidelined Sportsters — this group has a history of sports participation but to join a club again they require more flexibility.

• Club Wary — this group is positive about sport but there are some reservations about clubs being ‘cliquey’ or ‘exclusive’.

• Ponderers — this group is active but family take up much of their time. Clubs can be seen as a way to escape their daily routine; however they need to be convinced they can join without neglecting family commitments.

'This survey will enable sports to look at their current product and services and to assess whether they are meeting the consumer needs of the various segments,' says Paul Fairweather, Deputy General Manager (Research and Information) at the ASC.

'It also explores whether modifications to existing sports programs and services have the potential to retain members or attract new participants.'

The study suggests that sports will need to be innovative and creative in the way they develop sports programs to attract new participants with changing lifestyle demands.

In addition to the Market Segmentation for Sport Participation for Adults, a needs-based consumer centric model for children (aged five to 13 years) has also been developed, with key findings announced by the Minister for Sport, Senator Kate Lundy.

More information

Over the next 12 months, the ASC will be adding Australians with a disability and volunteers in sport to the Market Segmentation study. It is anticipated these findings will be available in late 2013.
For more information or to view the research reports please visit

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Gold Coast 2018 is the 5th Commonwealth Games to be hosted by Australia.

Quick numbers

11.6 million Australian adults participate in sport or physical activity three or more times per week.
3.2 million Australian children participate in organised sport or physical activity outside of school.
$10 billion is spent annually by Australians on fees for participation in sport or physical activity.
17 million Australian adults participate in a sport or physical activity every year.
650 thousand Australians either coach, teach or instruct sport.