Playing and watching sports in Australia is a very popular pastime. The number of people who watch and support certain sports does not always correspond to the number of people who participate in a certain sport. Below is a discussion and list of the numbers of participants in sports in Australia. The data sample is old and recent data would be expected to show quite different results, for example, soccer is much more popular among young kids around Australia.
The figures were taken from a publication by Active Australia (2000). The participation figures refer to persons aged 18 years and over for the period of 12 months during 1995-96. There is quite a difference between male and female participation in sport, see the separate lists below.
Total number of participants in sports in Australia (1995-96)
The numbers in the table below are for participation in both organized sports and physical activities. The original source had over 40 sports, though only the top-20 are shown here. The most popular in terms of participation for that time period (1995-96) was aerobics, which is rarely considered a sport. In fact, since the time of the study participation in aerobics has significantly declined.
In terms of organized sports, golf is the highest ranked, though golf is also for many a physical activity and recreation, not an organized sport. In terms of this study, those who play competitive golf can not be separated from those who have an occasional round of nine holes. I guess the same goes for the next ranked sport tennis, as not all tennis players will be participating in organized competition, some people just have a hit for fun and fitness.
Comparing this data to the list of spectators at Australian sports, there is quite a difference. According to the ABS, the sport that people in Australia most like to watch is Australian Rules Football, followed by Horse Racing and Rugby League. On this list, AFL was 13th, and Rugby League was 25th.
See more discussion about Australia's most popular sport.
|Rank||Sport||total||% males||% females|
Top-10 Sports and Physical Activities for Males and Females
|rank||Top Male Sports||number||Top Female Sports||number|
|8||touch football||105400||Martial arts||73200|
- Active Australia. (March 2000). The Numbers Game: a description of organized sport and physical activity participants in Australia. Australian Sports Commission. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
- More discussion on Australia's most popular sport.
- About sport in Australia
- other top 10 lists of the world's most popular sports
- Other world sport lists