4174.0 - Sports Attendance, Australia, 2005-06  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2007   
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1 This publication presents results on attendance at selected sporting events, from the 2005-06 Multi-Purpose Household Survey (MPHS) conducted each month throughout Australia as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

2 The MPHS is designed to provide annual statistics for a number of small, self-contained topics. In 2005-06 the topics were:

  • Sports attendance
  • Attendance at selected culture and leisure venues and events
  • Participation in sports and physical recreation
  • Work related injuries
  • Household use of information technology

3 Data for other MPHS topics collected in 2005-06 will be released in separate publications.

4 The MPHS collected data on sports attendance for persons aged 15 years and over. Sports attendance data for persons aged 15 years and over have been collected previously by the ABS in two Monthly Population Surveys (1995 and 1999), and for those aged 18 years and over in the 2002 General Social Survey. Data from these surveys have been published in previous editions of Sports Attendance, Australia (cat. no. 4174.0). The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (2003) obtained information regarding whether persons aged 5 years and over with a disability had attended a sports event away from home in the previous 12 months. Data from this survey have been published in Disability, Ageing and Carers: Summary of Findings, Australia 2003 (cat. no. 4430.0).

5 For all MPHS topics, information on labour force characteristics, education, income and other demographics is also available. In 2007, an expanded Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF) will be released containing data from all topics.


6 The scope of the LFS is people aged 15 years and over except:

  • members of the permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and estimated populations
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants).

7 For the MPHS in 2005-06 the following people were also excluded:
  • people living in special dwellings such as hotels, university residences, etc.
  • students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, residents of homes (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities), and inmates of prisons
  • visitors to private dwellings

8 This supplementary survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded persons living in very remote parts of Australia. The exclusion of these people is unlikely to impact on the state and territory estimates included in this publication, except for the Northern Territory where residents of these areas account for approximately 22% of the total population.


9 In the LFS, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling and hence has only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.


10 The MPHS is conducted as a supplement to the monthly LFS. Each month one eighth of the dwellings in the LFS sample are rotated out of the survey and one third of these dwelling are selected for the MPHS. In these dwellings, after the LFS has been fully completed for each person in scope and coverage, a person aged 15 years or over is selected at random (based on a computer algorithm) and asked the MPHS questions in a personal interview. If the randomly selected person is aged 15 to 17 years, permission is sought from a parent or guardian before conducting the interview. If permission is not given, the parent or guardian is asked the questions on behalf of the 15 to 17 year old. Data are collected using Computer Assisted Interviewing (CAI), whereby responses are recorded directly onto an electronic questionnaire in a notebook computer, usually during a telephone interview.

11 The sample was accumulated over a twelve month period from July 2005 to June 2006.

12 The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about the design of the survey, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the monthly LFS. This information applies to the supplementary surveys and the MPHS. The publication also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about telephone interviewing relevant to both the monthly LFS and supplementary surveys.


13 The initial sample for the 2005-06 MPHS was 18,846 private dwelling households. Of the 16,212 private dwelling households that remained in the survey after sample loss (for example, households selected in the survey which had no residents in scope for the LFS, vacant or derelict dwellings and dwellings under construction), approximately 14,219 or 88% fully responded to the MPHS.


14 Weighting is the process of adjusting results from a sample survey to infer results for the total in-scope population. To do this, a 'weight' is allocated to each sample unit which, for the MPHS, can be either a person or a household. The weight is a value which indicates how many population units are represented by the sample unit. The first step in calculating weights for each unit is to assign an initial weight, which is the inverse of the probability of being selected in the survey. The initial weights were calibrated to align with independent estimates of the population of interest, referred to as 'benchmarks'. Weights calibrated against population benchmarks ensure that the survey estimates conform to the independently estimated distribution of the population rather than the distribution within the sample itself.

15 The survey was benchmarked to the estimated civilian population aged 15 years and over, living in private dwellings in each state and territory (excluding very remote areas). The process of weighting ensures that the survey estimates conform to person benchmarks by state, part of state, age and sex, and to household benchmarks by state, part of state and household composition. These benchmarks are produced from estimates of the resident population derived independently of the survey.

16 Survey estimates of counts of persons or households are obtained by summing the weights of persons or households with the characteristic of interest.


17 The estimates provided in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors:

  • sampling error is the difference between the published estimates, derived from a sample of persons and the value that would have been produced if all persons in scope of the survey had been included. For more information refer to the Technical Note.
  • non-sampling error may occur in any collection, whether it is based on a sample or a full count such as a census. Sources of non-sample error include non-response, errors in reporting by respondents, errors in the recording of answers by interviewers and errors in the coding and processing of data. Every effort is made to reduce non-sampling error to a minimum by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training of interviewers and effective processing procedures.


18 This publication presents details of people who attended a sports event at least once during the 12 months before interview in 2005-06. While the tables provide the number of attendees and the attendance rate, it is also possible to calculate the details of non-attendees.

19 Respondents were asked an open-ended question about whether they had been to any sporting matches or competitions as a spectator, during the previous 12 months (excluding school and junior competitions). They were then prompted for which sports they had attended. These 'sports attendees' were asked to list up to five sports and also how frequently they had attended.

20 The data presented cannot be compared with any 'total admissions' data held by sporting venues or associations for a number of reasons. The MPHS collected information primarily about sports attendees (those people who attended a sports event at least once in the preceding 12 months) and not the total number of times they attended a sporting event. Details in relation to attendees under 15 years of age were not part of the survey but may be included in sporting organisations' 'total admissions' data. Finally, total admissions data may include multiple attendances of a core group of sports enthusiasts.


21 Tables 11 to 13 provide comparisons with data collected during 1995 and 1999 supplementary surveys to the Monthly Labour Force Survey. The methodology used in these surveys differed between years, as well as to the 2005-06 MPHS, and this may affect the validity of comparisons. It is not possible to determine the extent to which the differences between the 2005-06 MPHS and the 1995 and 1999 survey methodologies may have contributed to the different results.

22 The 1995 and 2005-06 surveys collected data directly from a randomly selected person about their attendance at sporting events. By comparison, the 1999 data were collected about the randomly selected person from any responsible adult in the household. Pilot tests conducted for the 1999 survey showed that this difference in methodology had only a minimal impact on the accuracy of the responses.

23 For the 1999 and 2005-06 surveys, most of the interviews were conducted by telephone, while in the 1995 survey all of the interviews were conducted face-to-face. This difference in methodology necessitated some changes to the wording of questions for the 1999 and 2005-06 surveys as the prompt cards from the face-to face surveys could not be used. Furthermore, in 2005-06, interviews were conducted using CAI technology whereas in 1995 and 1999, interviews were conducted using pen and paper.

24 Respondents to the 1995 and 1999 surveys were asked questions about their labour force status before being asked about their attendance at cultural and sporting venues and events. In 2005-06, respondents were also asked a few questions on a small range of topics before the sports attendance questions. The different context for the attendance questions in each survey may have had some impact on the responses provided by respondents.

25 A comparison of the data on attendance at motor sports between the 1995 survey and alternative data sources indicated that there was some under-reporting in the 1995 collection. The 1995 survey asked respondents to indicate which sporting matches or competitions they had attended. It is likely that some respondents did not realise that motor racing etc. was classified as a sport. To resolve this issue, a specific question on motor sports attendance was asked in 1999 and 2005-06.

26 Comparison of the data on attendance at motor sports between the 1995 survey and alternative data sources indicated that there was some under-reporting of some sports in the 1995 collection. The methodology used in the 1995 survey was to ask the respondent to indicate which sporting matches or competitions he/she had attended. It is likely that some respondents did not realise that motor racing, horse racing, or harness racing was a sport. To improve the quality of these data, specific questions on motor sports, horse racing and harness racing attendance were asked from 1999. Since then the same set of questions has been maintained to help ensure that there could be a comparable time series.

27 It is not possible to determine the extent to which the differences between the 2005-06 MPHS and the 1995 and 1999 survey methodologies have contributed to the different results.

28 Data on attendance at sport were also collected on the 2002 General Social Survey (GSS). Analysis of sports attendance data collected on the 2006 GSS and data collected on the 2005-06 MPHS has shown that the results from the two surveys are significantly different. As the data were collected over a similar time period, the differences in survey methodologies have had a significant impact on the survey results. Thus, the 2002 GSS results are not comparable to the 2005-06 MPHS results.


29 Due to differences in the scope and sample size of the MPHS and that of the LFS, the estimation procedure may lead to some small variations between labour force estimates from this survey and those obtained from the LFS.


30 The ABS will conduct the MPHS again during the 2006-07 financial year. The 2006-07 MPHS topics are:

  • Education and household income (core)
  • Household use of information technology
  • Barriers and incentives to labour force participation
  • Retirement and retirement intentions
  • Family characteristics, transitions and history
  • Adult learning

31 The MPHS is likely to be the main survey vehicle for the collection of future data on sports attendance and the ABS is planning to collect data on this topic again in 2009-10. The scope of the survey is expected to remain as persons aged 15 years and over.


32 ABS surveys draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated. Without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


33 Other ABS publications containing information on sport, physical recreation and leisure activities include:

  • Participation in Sport and Physical Activities, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 4177.0)
  • Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 4114.0)
  • Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4901.0)
  • Sport and Recreation: A Statistical Overview, Australia, 2006 Edition 2 (cat. no. 4156.0)
  • General Social Survey, Australia, 2002 (cat. no. 4159.0)
  • Australian Culture and Leisure Classifications, 2001 (cat. no. 4902.0)
  • How Australians Use Their Time, 1997 (cat. no. 4153.0)

34 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site <https://www.abs.gov.au>. The ABS also issues a daily release advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.