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4174.0 - Sports Attendance, Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/12/2003   
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SUMMARY

During the 12 months before interview in 2002, nearly one-half of the Australian population aged 18 years and over (48.2% or 7.0 million people) attended at least one sporting event. The highest rates of attendance were recorded for Australian rules football (17.1%), horse racing (12.9%) and motor sports (10.2%).


AGE AND SEX

People aged 18–24 years (64.5%) were most likely to have attended at least one sporting event in the 12 months prior to interview, with attendance declining in each subsequent age group. The lowest rate of attendance (21.2%) was recorded for those aged 65 years and over. More males (4.0 million or 56.0%) attended a sports event than females (3.0 million or 40.7%). Attendance rates were higher for males than for females in all age groups.


AREA OF RESIDENCE

Attendance rates at sporting events were similar for people in state capital cities (47.9%) and the rest of Australia (48.9%). The highest attendance rate was recorded in the Northern Territory (56.7%), while the lowest was recorded in New South Wales (43.7%).


COUNTRY OF BIRTH

People born in Australia had the highest attendance rate (53.0%). This was 6.6 percentage points higher than the attendance rate for people born in overseas main English-speaking countries (46.4%) and 23.9 percentage points higher than the rate for people born in non-English speaking countries (29.1%).


LABOUR FORCE

Employed people had a higher rate of attendance (59.0%) than those who were unemployed (42.8%), and those employed full-time had a higher rate (62.2%) than those employed part-time (51.0%). The lowest attendance rate was recorded for people not in the labour force (27.4%) of which over half (727,300 people) were retired from work. The attendance rate for those retired from work was 23.8%.


EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT

The rate of attendance was lowest for those people whose completed level of education was year 10 or below (35.8%) followed by certificate levels I and II (43.4%). Other attendance rates ranged from 56.5% for people whose highest completed level of education was year 12, to 51.7% for people with advanced diplomas or diplomas.


OCCUPATION

Attendance rates by occupation varied from 65.1% for associate professionals to 50.9% for labourers and related workers.


MAIN SPORTS ATTENDED

  • Australian rules football had the highest attendance of any sporting event in Australia with almost 2.5 million people aged 18 years or over reporting that they had attended at least once in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002. This represents an attendance rate of 17.1% for this population. Horse racing was the second most attended sporting event, with almost 1.9 million people (12.9%) having attended at least once during this period.
  • Other sports which attracted over one million attendees were motor sports (1.5 million) and rugby league (1.5 million).
  • The rate of attendance was higher for males than for females for the majority of the fifteen main sports. Exceptions to this were tennis, where the attendance rates for both sexes were the same (2.7%), hockey (outdoor) where the female attendance rate (0.9%) was higher than that for males (0.6%), and netball, where the female attendance rate was over twice that for males (2.1% and 0.9% respectively). Of the sports that were predominantly attended by males, over half a million more males (1,503,900) than females (982,000) attended Australian rules football and at least twice as many males as females attended motor sports (993,300 males and 480,100 females), cricket (outdoor) (635,200 and 231,000) and rugby union (469,700 and 203,900).
  • The frequency with which people attended different sports varied considerably. The majority of people who attended tennis (72.8%), golf (70.4%), harness racing (70.0%), motor sports (68.6%) and horse racing (67.0%) only attended once or twice during the reference period. In contrast, over two-fifths (41.9%) of people who attended netball attended this sport six or more times during the 12 months prior to interview.
  • Sports with the highest frequency rates (attended six or more times) were lawn bowls (57.6% of attendees) and netball (41.9%).


COMPARISON OF 1995, 1999 AND 2002 SURVEYS
  • The number of Australians aged 18 years and over who attended a sporting event (excluding motor sports) increased from 5.6 million in 1995 to 6.5 million in 2002. The attendance rate was 42.1% in 1995 and 44.8% in 2002. The increase in the rate of attendance at sporting events was similar for both males (up 5.3 percentage points) and females (4.6 percentage points).
  • The number of persons attending Australian rules football increased from 1.7 million in 1995 to 2.5 million in 2002 with the rate of attendance increasing from 13.1% in 1995 to 17.1% in 2002. Increases in attendance rates over the three collection years were also recorded for rugby union (up 2.1 percentage points) and soccer (up 1.7 percentage points). Decreases in attendance were recorded for cricket (outdoor) and basketball with attendance rates falling 2.0 and 1.3 percentage points respectively.
  • Care should be taken when comparing data from the surveys due to changes in the survey methodology. For further information see paragraphs 25 to 30 of the Explanatory Notes.


SELECTED SPORTS

Australian rules football
  • Australian rules football was the sporting event most attended by Australians. It was attended at least once by almost 2.5 million people or 17.1% of Australians aged 18 years and over in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002.
  • The highest attendance rates for this sport were recorded in Victoria (33.4%) and South Australia (33.4%), followed by Western Australia (26.7%) and Tasmania (25.6%). People in New South Wales reported the lowest attendance rate (4.1%), followed by Queensland (6.5%).
  • The attendance rate for Australian rules football was higher for males (21.0%) than for females (13.4%) with males in Victoria and South Australia having the highest attendance rates (41.3% and 39.2% respectively).
  • Almost 850,000 people attended Australian rules football matches on six or more occasions during the 12 months prior to interview. This was 34.2% of all Australian rules football attendees. Another 24.9% (or 618,100 people) attended this sport three to five times.

Basketball
  • In the 12 months prior to interview in 2002, 434,400 people aged 18 years and over attended a basketball game at least once, representing an attendance rate of 3.0%.
  • The Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest rate of attendance at basketball (5.9%) followed by South Australia with 4.7%. Attendance rates recorded in other states and territories ranged from 3.8% in Tasmania to 2.1% in New South Wales.
  • Similar numbers of males (226,000) and females (208,400) attended basketball games with the attendance rates for males and females being 3.1% and 2.8% respectively.
  • More than two-fifths of all basketball spectators (42.7%) attended one or two times; over one-third (34.6%) had been to a game six or more times, while over one-fifth (22.7%) attended three to five times.

Cricket (outdoor)
  • Cricket (outdoor) was the fifth most attended sporting event, having an overall attendance rate of 6.0%. Of all the states and territories, the highest attendance rate was recorded in Victoria (8.7%). The attendance rates for people in the other states and territories ranged from 6.6% in Tasmania to 4.2% in the Northern Territory.
  • More males (635,200) attended cricket (outdoor) events than females (231,000) with the attendance rates for males and females at this sporting event being 8.9% and 3.2% respectively.
  • More than one-half (56.4%) of the people who attended cricket (outdoor) in the 12 months prior to interview did so one or two times. Almost one-quarter (24.6%) attended three to five times and nearly one-fifth (19.1%) had attended six or more times during this period.

Golf
  • Just over 95,000 people aged 18 years and over attended a golfing event in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002. This was an attendance rate of 0.7%. Of all states and territories, the highest attendance rate for this sport was recorded in Victoria (1.1%). Western Australia had the second highest rate of attendance (0.8%).
  • Three times as many males (72,100) attended golfing events than females (23,000) in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002 and the majority (70.4%) who attended this sport did so one or two times.

Hockey (outdoor)
  • Nearly 107,000 people aged 18 years and over attended a hockey (outdoor) event at least once in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002. The highest attendance rate was recorded in Tasmania (1.9%). Other attendance rates ranged from 1.8% in Western Australia to 0.5% in New South Wales.
  • More females (63,300, an attendance rate of 0.9%) than males (43,500 or 0.6%) attended this sport in the 12 months prior to interview. The majority of attendees were also aged less than 55 years with 73% of these being between 25 and 54 years of age.
  • Nearly two-fifths (39.6%) of people who had attended a hockey (outdoor) event did so on six or more occasions.

Horse, harness, and dog racing
  • Just over 2.6 million people aged 18 years and over attended horse racing, harness racing or dog racing in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002. Horse racing was the second most attended sporting event after Australian rules football, with just under 1.9 million people attending at least once during this period. The attendance rate was 12.9%. In comparison, 508,300 people attended harness racing and 232,300 attended dog racing during the same period.
  • The highest rates of attendance for horse racing were recorded in the Northern Territory (16.3%), and Victoria (15.8%). Western Australia had the highest attendance rate for both harness racing (6.3%) and dog racing (3.7%).
  • Males had higher attendance rates than females for all three of these sporting events. For horse racing, the most highly attended of these, the attendance rate for males was 14.8%, while for females it was 11.0%.
  • For the majority of people who attended any of these racing events (horse racing, 67.0%; harness racing, 70.0%; and dog racing, 64.7%), their attendance was an annual or bi-annual event. Just over one in ten attendees (horse racing, 11.8%; harness racing, 11.5%; and dog racing, 12.6%) attended six or more times during the survey period.

Lawn bowls
  • In the 12 months prior to interview in 2002, 89,200 people aged 18 years and over reported having attended lawn bowls at least once. This was an attendance rate of 0.6%. The highest attendance rate was recorded in Tasmania (1.1%). Attendance rates recorded in other states and territories ranged from 0.7% in New South Wales to 0.2% in the Australian Capital Territory.
  • Slightly more males (47,200, an attendance rate of 0.7% ) than females (42,000 or 0.6%) had attended lawn bowls in the 12 months prior to interview.
  • The highest attendance rate for lawn bowls was recorded for people aged 65 years and over (1.8%), followed by people aged 55–65 years (1.3%).
  • Over one-half (57.6%) of people aged 18 years and over who attended lawn bowls did so on six or more occasions in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002.

Motor sports
  • The third most attended sporting event was motor sports. Nearly 1.5 million people (10.2%) aged 18 years and over attended this sport at least once in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002.
  • People in the Northern Territory had the highest attendance rate (26.1%) for motor sports. This was also the highest attendance rate for any sport in the Northern Territory with the next most attended sport being Australian rules football (17.8%). Attendance rates in other states and territories ranged from 15.8% in the Australian Capital Territory to 7.5% in New South Wales.
  • Attendance at motor sports was more than twice as high by males (993,300 or 13.8%) than by females (480,100 or 6.6%).
  • The occupation group with the highest attendance rate was tradespersons and related workers (23.2%), followed by intermediate production and transport workers (17.4%). The lowest attendance rate was by professionals (9.6%).
  • Over two-thirds (68.6%) of people who attended motor sports did so only once or twice in the 12 months prior to interview, while 17.6% attended on three to five occasions.

Netball
  • In the 12 months prior to interview in 2002, 219,700 people aged 18 years and over attended netball at least once. This represents an attendance rate of 1.5%.
  • The highest attendance rate was recorded in South Australia (4.0%) followed by the Northern Territory (2.7%). Attendance rates for other states and territories varied from 2.2% for Tasmania to 1.0% for Queensland.
  • Of the twelve most attended sports in Australia, netball was the only sport where female attendance was higher than that by males. More than twice as many females (152,800) as males (66,900) had attended a netball match during the 12 months prior to interview. This was an attendance rate for females of 2.1% compared with 0.9% for males.
  • Over two-fifths (41.9%) of people who attended a netball match did so six or more times, while one-third (33.6%) had attended one or two times.

Rugby league
  • Just under 1.5 million people aged 18 years or over had attended at least one rugby league match during the 12 months prior to interview in 2002. This was the fourth highest sport attended, with an attendance rate of 10.1%.
  • The highest attendance rate was recorded in New South Wales (18.1%) followed by Queensland (16.9%) and the Australian Capital Territory (15.8%). Attendance rates in the remaining states and territories ranged from 5.9% in the Northern Territory to 0.1% in Tasmania. Notably, the states and territories which had low attendance rates for rugby league had the highest attendance rates for Australian rules football.
  • Attendance by males (951,400 or 13.3%) at rugby league events was nearly twice that reported by females (513,200 or 7.0%).
  • Nearly half (49.5%) of people who attended rugby league did so only one or two times during the 12 months prior to interview and just over one-quarter (25.7%) attended three to five times. Nearly one-quarter (24.7%) attended six or more times.

Rugby union
  • There were 673,600 people aged 18 years and over (an attendance rate of 4.6%) who attended a rugby union event at least once during the 12 months prior to interview in 2002.
  • More than half of all people who attended this type of sporting event were recorded in New South Wales (352,600 people). The highest attendance rate was recorded for the Australian Capital Territory (23.8%). The next highest attendance rate was recorded for New South Wales (7.2%). The lowest attendance rate (0.6%) was recorded in South Australia. Other attendance rates ranged from 6.0% in Queensland to 1.2% in Victoria.
  • More than twice as many males as females attended rugby union events during the 12 months prior to interview (469,700 and 203,900 respectively). This is reflected in the attendance rates for males (6.5%) and females (2.8%).
  • Of the people who attended this sport, nearly one-half (49.0%) had been once or twice during the 12 months prior to interview. Just over one-quarter (25.6%) attended six or more times, and a further one-quarter (25.3%) attended three to five times during this period.

Soccer (outdoor)
  • Soccer (outdoor) was attended at least once by 5.5% of people aged 18 years and over in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002. Comparing the states and territories, the highest attendance rate was recorded in Western Australia (8.0%), followed by New South Wales (7.2%). Attendance rates for other states and territories ranged from 4.4% in the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland to 2.4% in Tasmania.
  • Nearly twice as many males as females attended a soccer (outdoor) match at least once in the 12 months prior to interview (519,300 and 282,600 respectively).
  • Over one-third (37.8%) attended soccer (outdoor) one or two times in the 12 months prior to interview with a further 34.4% reporting having attended six or more times during the same period.

Tennis
  • There were 393,500 people in Australia who attended a tennis match in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002. This was 2.7% of the population aged 18 years and over.
  • Victoria reported the highest rate of attendance for this sport (5.2%) and tennis was the fifth most attended sport in this state with 191,000 people aged 18 years and over having attended at least once. Attendance rates for other states and territories ranged from 2.5% in Western Australia to 0.9% in Queensland.
  • The number of females (201,000) attending tennis matches was slightly higher than by males (192,500) although the attendance rates for both sexes were the same (2.7%).
  • The majority (72.8%) of people who attended this sport during the reference period did so only one or two times. Just under one-fifth (19.7%) had attended three to five times and only 7.5% attended six or more times.

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