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Almost 4 million Australians want to join sporting clubs

Almost 4 million Australians want to join sporting clubs
April 12, 2013

A just released report suggests that Australia's sporting clubs have the potential to recruit an additional 3.8 million members if they consider new ways of delivering sport to those who want to get involved in club-based sport.

Released at the Our Sporting Future forum by Minister for Sport Senator Kate Lundy, the report, Market Segmentation for Sport Participation identifies the key motivators, needs and barriers that underpin Australians' decisions to participate in sport.

Senator Lundy (pictured below) explained "club based sports have lots of opportunities to grow (but) Australians want different things from their sports clubs than they did 30 years ago.

"This research can help sport clubs to understand those needs."

Senator Lundy explained this research is an Australian-first and will be an important new tool to help sports understand the changes in society affecting people's willingness to participate in club-based sport.

"The research identifies there are some 3.8 million Australians who are interested in joining a club. But, clubs need to offer sport in a way that appeals to these Australians and that will be the challenge for clubs across the country.

"The research also reminds sports that retaining current members is much more efficient than trying to recruit new members, but that many sports lose substantial numbers of members as members get older."

The research identifies 10 adult segments, including those that represent the greatest potential to grow and maintain sport participation.

Segments of the adult population identified for clubs to attract new members include:

Sidelined Sportsters: This group enjoy sport and were often members of sports clubs as kids, but no longer. This group enjoys the camaraderie of club-based sport, but to join a club again, they need greater flexibility from sports clubs.

Club Wary: This group are very positive about sport and enjoy challenging themselves. While not overly critical of clubs, they have some reservations and feel that clubs can at times be 'cliquey' or 'exclusive'.

Ponderers: Often married with children, this group are active but family take up much of their time. For this group, clubs can be seen as a way to escape their current daily routine.

However, they need convincing they can join without neglecting their family and lifestyle commitments.

The research was commissioned by the Australian Sports Commission and conducted by GfK Blue Moon in response to the sport sector saying it needed to better understand changing participation markets and targeting of resources.

Senator Lundy added "I'm confident the study will provide sports with much greater clarity on who they can tap into within their communities to grow their sport and at the same time, provide more opportunities for potential participants.

"Together with the release of The Future of Australian Sport research earlier this week, highlighting megatrends likely to impact Australian sport over the next 30 years, this segmentation study provides an evidence base that sport sector partners can use to guide future participation planning and resources."

In 2011, the Federal Government boosted sport funding by more than $190 million, and this year, through the Australian Sports Commission, the Government will invest $120 million for community sport participation initiatives.

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