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4156.0.55.001 - Perspectives on Sport, Nov 2011  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/11/2011   
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SPORT AND CULTURE


INTRODUCTION

Going to cultural venues and attending sporting events as a spectator are all popular pastimes for many Australians. Participating in sport and physical recreation is also popular, whether it be for enjoyment, competition or to improve health and fitness. The benefits of exercise on wellbeing and mental health have been well documented. For example, doctors have found that the use of exercise in treating older patients with depression was just as effective as the use of anti-depressants (End Note 1). The benefits of social interaction from attending cultural events and sporting matches have also been well documented. Studies have shown an improvement in feelings of wellbeing through cultural and sporting attendance, with people who engaged in cultural activities and sports reporting better health and satisfaction with life, as well as lower levels of anxiety and depression (End Note 2).

This article will look at the differences in attendance at cultural venues and sporting events by people who actively participated in sport and physical recreation (participants) and those who did not actively participate (non-participants). It will explore whether people who participated in sport and physical recreation had interests that extended beyond the sporting arena, going to cultural venues and events.

Between July 2009 and June 2010 the ABS surveyed households asking people about their participation in sport and physical recreation, their attendance at selected cultural venues and events, and their attendance at sporting events as a spectator. The survey collected information for the 12 months prior to interview.

People may have participated in sport as a player for exercise and/or recreation, and it may have been organised by a club or association. For the purposes of the survey, a sporting event was defined as any sports game or match, either ticketed or free of charge, excluding school or junior sport. The selected cultural venues and events in the survey included libraries, cinemas, music concerts, art galleries and museums. The cultural venues and events featured in this article have been selected due to their overall popularity.

Further information about the surveys referred to in this article can be found in the ABS publications: Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2009-10 (cat. no.4177.0); Spectator Attendance at Sporting Events, Australia, 2009-10 (cat. no. 4174.0); and Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2009-10 (cat. no. 4114.0).

Differences between the data items highlighted in this article are statistically significant. For further information about statistical significance please refer to the Technical Notes in the publications listed above.


WATCHING FROM THE SIDELINES

Australians enjoy both cultural and sporting interests in their spare time. The 2009-10 ABS survey of Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events found that most Australians aged 15 years and over had attended at least one cultural venue or event in the 12 months prior to interview (15.0 million or 86%). The 2009-10 ABS survey of Spectator Attendance at Sporting Events found that going to sport as a spectator was not quite as popular, with 7.6 million people (43%) reporting that they had attended at least one sporting event in the last 12 months.

ATTENDANCE AT CULTURAL VENUES AND SPORTING EVENTS, By sex - 2009-10
Graph: ATTENDANCE AT CULTURAL VENUES AND SPORTING EVENTS, By sex—2009-10


Women had a higher rate of attendance at cultural venues and events than men (88% compared with 83%). However, going to watch a sporting event, whether it be the local hockey club grand final or something on a larger scale like the AFL, was more popular with men (49%) than with women (37%).


SPORTS PARTICIPANTS ENJOY CULTURAL ACTIVITIES

The 2009-10 ABS survey of Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation found that 11.1 million people aged 15 years and over (64%) participated in sport and physical recreation at least once in the 12 months prior to interview.

The participation and attendance surveys conducted by the ABS indicate that people who participated in sport and physical recreation went to both cultural and sporting events, more so than non-participants. In 2009-10, the ABS survey found that 10.3 million people (93%) who had participated in sport and physical recreation, had attended at least one cultural event in the previous 12 months. This dispels the notion that sports participants are only interested in or have time for sports. People who participated in sport and physical recreation had higher attendance rates at cultural venues and events than non-participants (93% and 74% respectively). Women who participated in sport and physical recreation had slightly higher attendance rates at cultural venues and events (94%) than men (91%). Overall, participants had higher attendance rates at libraries, art galleries and the cinema than non-participants of sport and physical recreation.

ATTENDANCE AT CULTURAL VENUES AND SPORTING EVENTS, By participant/non-participant - 2009-10
Graph: ATTENDANCE AT CULTURAL VENUES AND SPORTING EVENTS, By participant/non-participant—2009-10


The majority of people who participated in sport and physical recreation (5.7 million or 52%) had attended at least one sporting event as a spectator in 2009-10, compared with non-participants (28%). Male participants had a higher attendance rate as spectators (59%) than women (45%).


AGE

In general, attendance at cultural venues and events decreased as age increased. The highest attendance rates at cultural events by participants in sport and physical recreation were by people who were below 45 years of age, with their cultural attendance rate being around 95%. A noticeable decrease was found amongst non-participants, with 88% aged between 15 to 24 years attending a cultural venue or event in the 12 months prior to interview, compared with only 58% of non-participants aged 65 years and over.

ATTENDANCE AT CULTURAL VENUES AND EVENTS, By age - 2009-10
Graph: ATTENDANCE AT CULTURAL VENUES AND EVENTS, By age—2009-10


Attendance at sporting events also decreased with age among people who participated in sport and physical recreation with 62% of people aged 15 to 24 years attending compared with 31% for those 65 years and older. Attendance at sporting events by non-participants peaked in the 25 to 34 year age group at 25%, decreasing to 16% of non-participants aged 65 years and over. There was a difference in the 15 to 24 year age group between attendance at sporting events by people who participated in sport and physical recreation (62%) and those who did not (30%).

ATTENDANCE AT SPORTING EVENTS, By age - 2009-10
Graph: ATTENDANCE AT SPORTING EVENTS, By age—2009-10



LABOUR FORCE STATUS

There are many reasons why people may not be able to attend cultural venues or watch sporting events. In some cases, the cost of attending cultural or sporting events may be prohibitive for people who are not in the labour force, or there may be time constraints on their ability to attend. People who are not in the labour force may be retired and living on a limited income, or alternatively, have a disability which makes social interaction difficult.

ATTENDANCE AT CULTURAL VENUES AND EVENTS, By labour force status - 2009-10
Graph: ATTENDANCE AT CULTURAL VENUES AND EVENTS, By labour force status—2009-10


A similar percentage of employed and unemployed people who participated in sport and physical recreation also attended at least one cultural venue or event in 2009-10 (94% and 95% respectively). Whether employed, unemployed or not in the labour force, non-participants had lower attendance rates at cultural venues and events. The attendance rate for non-participants who were not in the labour force was lower (64%) than the attendance rate for participants who were not in the labour force (89%).

ATTENDANCE AT SPORTING EVENTS, By labour force status - 2009-10
Graph: ATTENDANCE AT SPORTING EVENTS, By labour force status—2009-10


Employed people who participated in sport and physical recreation had higher attendance rates at sporting events (58%) than employed non-participants (39%). For people who were not in the labour force, there was a significant difference in the attendance rate at sporting events between participants (37%) and non-participants (16%).


PLAYERS PREFER THE PICTURES

People who participated in sport and physical recreation had higher attendance rates for each of the selected cultural venues and events in the 2009-10 survey. Overall, the cinema was the most popular cultural venue attended by participants and non-participants, however, participants had higher rates of attendance at the cinema (76%) than non-participants (51%).

ATTENDANCE AT SELECTED CULTURAL VENUES AND EVENTS, By participant/non-participant - 2009-10
Graph: ATTENDANCE AT SELECTED CULTURAL VENUES AND EVENTS, By participant/non-participant—2009-10


People who participated in sport and physical recreation had higher rates of attendance at libraries (37%) than non-participants (28%), with female participants in particular having higher attendance rates (45%) compared with female non-participants (34%). Men who participated in sport and physical recreation also had a higher attendance rate at libraries (28%) compared with male non-participants (22%). The attendance rate of participants who attended the art gallery (32%), was over twice that of non-participants (15%). Attendance at musicals and operas was more popular amongst women who participated in sport and physical recreation (26%), than those who did not (12%), whereas male participants who participated were three times more likely to attend musicals and operas (15% compared with 5%).


TIME POOR - OR SUPER ENERGISED?

Of the people who participated in sport and physical recreation 1 to 6 times during the 12 months prior to interview, 89% had also attended a cultural venue or event, compared with those who participated 105 times or more (93%).

ATTENDANCE AT CULTURAL VENUES AND SPORTING EVENTS, By frequency of participation, 2009-10
Graph: ATTENDANCE AT CULTURAL VENUES AND SPORTING EVENTS, By frequency of participation, 2009–10


While the likelihood of people attending cultural venues and events increased with the frequency of their participation in sport and physical recreation, the number of times that people participated did not appear to affect whether or not they had attended a sporting event as a spectator. The proportion of people who participated in sport or physical recreation activities and attended a sporting event was similar, regardless of the frequency of participation.


END NOTES

1. Blumenthal, J. A., et al., 1999, 'Effects of Exercise Training on Older Patients With Major Depression', Archives of Internal Medicine, vol.159, no.19, pp. 2349-2356.

2. Cuypers, K., et al., 2011, 'Patterns of receptive and creative cultural activities and their association perceived health, anxiety, depression and satisfaction with life among adults: the HUNT study, Norway', Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, viewed 25/9/11, <http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2011/05/04/jech.2010.113571>.


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