Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Community sporting clubs facing financial ruin as revenue streams hit by Coronavirus impact

Community sporting clubs facing financial ruin as revenue streams hit by Coronavirus impact
June 13, 2020

While Coronavirus restrictions around Australia are being eased, with community sport following elite sport in being able to restart, local sporting clubs and competitions - impacted by evaporating sponsorship money and falling membership numbers - may soon not be in a financial state to continue.

A new study by the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF), provided to the ABC, suggests that one in five community sports clubs could disappear within three months if current COVID-19 restrictions remain in place.

The ASF, which surveyed data from 2,700 clubs, found that community sports clubs could face up to $1.5 billion in losses this year.

The survey shows that community sporting clubs around Australia have suffered an enormous financial toll from the Coronavirus pandemic, with local sponsorship and membership income plummeting since March, when most restrictions were first introduced.

Costs like the rental of facilities, wages for match officials and coaches, as well as insurance and grounds maintenance have continued despite a postponed 2020 season.

With many clubs eating into their savings, it's estimated that if the shutdown continues, roughly 24,000 clubs will not survive the year.

The ASF calculated that community sport will require between $500 million and $1 billion to recover from the financial fallout from COVID-19.

As reported by the ABC, AJAX Football Club President, Ronnie Lewis, estimates the inner Melbourne club has missed out on roughly $50,000 in sponsorship from local businesses so far this year, a figure that will only grow each week they do not play.

Lewis advised “we're just looking at ways of getting through the season, whether we play or not.

As restrictions begin to gradually ease, many clubs are cautiously returning to training even if they don't yet know their league’s fate - hoping to be ready in the event their 2020 season does go ahead.

AJAX men's captain Nick Lewis added “for people's mental health, I think the footy is vital, and we can't wait to get out there.

"It's been extremely frustrating. Obviously, we understand that there are health issues and risks associated with coming out and not abiding to the law. But the element of the unknown has been really hard."

In NSW, state sporting organisation Football NSW, while announcing restart days for competitions run by its member associations, has yet to reveal when its NPL (National Premier League) NSW will recommence.

Reports suggest that state league clubs in NSW are reluctant to restart the competition as they fear being unable to meet operating costs and player wages.

By contrast, in Western Australia, Football West is backing clubs and players with $500,000 in financial relief that includes 25% reductions in match official fees for clubs and competition team entry fees, a 50% subsidy for personal injury insurance cost, a 25% reduction in registration fees for referees and the establishment of a financial hardship fund, which will cover all aspects of the game including courses, programs and club development.

Explaining that while see a reduction in income, clubs are also having to face increased costs to maintain hygiene standards, ASF Chief Executive Patrick Walker, told the ABC “it's really a double whammy for clubs. It's really pushing clubs close to the wall.”

Related Articles

11th June 2020 - Northern Territory launches campaign to inspire women to be active and participate in sport

10th June 2020 - Sunshine Coast Council reopens key sporting fields and courts

28th May 2020 - Tennis ‘a sport that can be played with social distancing in mind’

25th May 2020 - Newcastle’s No.1 Sportsground to receive major redevelopment

25th May 2020 - Victorian grassroots sporting clubs and associations to receive government support

24th May 2020 - Sport Australia launches toolkit to guide safe return of community sport

20th May 2020 - Budget to fund Bendigo sports and recreation facility upgrades

20th May 2020 - Global sports sponsorship market predicted to fall by 37% this year

18th May 2020 - Australian Sports Turf Managers Association launches turf management certification program

17th May 2020 - Initiative launched to help grassroots sport navigate COVID-19 crisis

13th May 2020 - Community aquatic, recreation and sport industry alliance seeks 12-month stimulus package from Federal and state governments

13th May 2020 - Survival package unveiled for Victorian sport, tourism and creative industries

12th May 2020 - Industry alliance provides guidance on community aquatic, recreation and sport operations in eased Coronavirus environment

11th May 2020 - 1breadcrumb app offers tourism and sporting industries a digital solution post COVID-19

7th May 2020 - Latest AusPlay data shows further increase in adult participation in sport and physical activity

7th May 2020 - Tasmanian Government announces sport and recreation organisations benefiting from support package

6th May 2020 - Coronavirus downturn sees sports in country towns struggle

5th May 2020 - Deakin University launches survey to assess how Australians are coping without sport

29th April 2020 - FFA prepares guidelines for the resumption of football

19th March 2020 - Government issues Coronavirus guidelines for community sport, stating fitness centres and swimming pools need not close

17th March 2020 - FFA suspends grassroots football

21st February 2020 - Queensland Government invests in community sporting infrastructure

12th February 2020 - Port Hedland to benefit from $750,000 from Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund

23rd November 2019 - Former Government lawyer says Federal Minister’s Community Sport Infrastructure allocations were ‘illegal’

15th November 2019 - AusPlay survey shows football remains the top participation sport in NSW

18th October 2019 - Unanimous vote backs rugby league in NSW being governed by one body

23rd July 2019 - FAN+ Australia marketplace to partner with Australian Sports Foundation

20th May 2019 - Federal Government Community Sporting Infrastructure Grants invests over $100 million

21st March 2019 - Australian Sports Foundation eases tax time donations process

19th December 2018 - Tabcorp’s Play For Purpose gets backing from Sport Australia and the Australian Sports Foundation

30th August 2018 - Australian Sports Foundation coordinates $44.7 million in donations in last financial year

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Abel Sports

INTRODUCTION Abel Sports is Australia’s leading manufacturer and suppliers of Goal Posts, sports ground safety netting systems and coaches boxes for Stadiums ,Sports Clubs, Councils and…

read more

Recreation / Sport / Venues



ICP is an Australian-based company focused on indoor climbing. ICP will manage your project from initial design to completion and beyond, whether you're building an international-level climbing…

read more

Attractions / Fitness / Recreation


@leisure Planners

@leisure is a team of experienced leisure, aquatic and sports facility managers and planners, with market modelling, sports management, recreation planning, business and GIS qualifications. We have…

read more



Otium Planning Group

Otium Planning Group is a contemporary sport and leisure consultancy providing services in planning, facility development, management and funding for the sport, recreation and leisure industries…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues



Quayclean are a national cleaning and waste services partner with proven results in the understanding and delivery of cleaning needs and challenges faced by facilities including; major venues and…

read more

Aquatics / Hospitality / Surfaces / Venues



Gladstone Health & Leisure (Gladstone MRM Pty Ltd Australia) is a leading supplier of leisure management and fitness software and is endorsed by leading health and fitness professionals and…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology / Venues


Centaman Entrance Control

Turnstile Entry Systems and Access Control Centaman Entrance Controls’ Award Winning Range of Access Control Systems includes tripod & triarm turnstiles, speedgates, full height…

read more

Access / Entertainment / Sport / Ticketing / Venues



PathMinder Pty Ltd have partnered with AllUser Industries srl to bring Europe’s most advanced high security portals to the Australian and New Zealand markets. AllUser Industries started to…

read more

Access / Fitness / Recreation / Security


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business