COMPARING ABS AND SWEENEY SPORT PARTICIPATION AND ATTENDANCE DATA
There are two key sources of national data on sport participation and attendance in Australia: the ABS and Sweeney Research. When comparing the results reported by these two organisations, significant differences are apparent, with the ABS data consistently the lower of the two. For example, for 1998-99, ABS data indicate an overall participation rate of 59%, while Sweeney data indicate a rate of 88%. In terms of attendance at sporting events, the ABS attendance rate stood at 47%, compared with Sweeney's rate of 65%. When examining rates for individual sports, the same picture emerges, with Sweeney rates higher in nearly all cases than those of the ABS.
NCCRS has recently prepared a report that aims to explain possible reasons for the differences in the recorded participation and attendance rates. As detailed in the report, two of the key reasons generally cited for the observed differences relate to differences in the geographical coverage of the surveys and the age range of respondents. In order to take these differences into account, the ABS figures were recalculated using (to the extent possible) the same geographical and age parameters as the Sweeney research. Results indicated that while the adjusted ABS figures were somewhat higher, large differences between the ABS and Sweeney rates were still evident. In the report, other reasons for the disparity of the results are proposed and discussed. Copies of this report are available from Ben Smith, NCCRS (08 8237 7404).