The future of sport in Australia

by frank-stuart
22NOV

Sport looks far different than it did 10 years ago, and we are likely to see more big changes over the next decade, in both the professional and amateur realm. Some of the major developments we have seen in sport include:

  • Sport packaged as entertainment
  • Scheduling based around broadcast, rather than live, audiences
  • The athlete as celebrity
  • Greater injections of money

To predict where Australian sport might be heading, you need to take a number of factors into account. Here are some things that will have an impact on the future of sport in Australia.

Health

Australia’s ageing population and rising obesity rates are two of the biggest health issues facing the country. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures reveal a five per cent increase in overweight and obese Australians from 2007-8 to 2011. The statistics also reveal that about a quarter of young adults are overweight or obese. “Shifts towards energy-dense diets and decreasing physical activity are two of the factors that have contributed to increases in rates of overweight and obesity,” the ABS states.

The need for higher participation rates in community sport is obvious. This was reflected in the Crawford Report, an independent report submitted to the federal government. More funding for community sport and sport in schools was a key priority in the recommendations. The report also claimed that it was difficult to justify the largesse given to the Australian Olympic Committee.

Even Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates, who had originally slammed the recommendation to cut Olympic funding in favour of wider participation, stated after the London Olympics that physical education should be compulsory in schools.

Social trends

The demography of Australia is changing. It is becoming more culturally diverse, with migrants from all over the world settling in Australia. There has been a significant increase in migrants from Africa and the Middle East, and this brings challenges of linguistic, social and cultural barriers. Sport can be scene as an extremely effective way to help migrants integrate into their community and feel a sense of belonging.

Volunteers

Community sporting organisations have traditionally relied on hard-working volunteers. But the volunteer population is ageing, because there are not enough people putting their hand up to take their place.

People have less time on their hands, and are less willing to give their time away for free. This will no doubt force clubs to think about how they can survive into the future.

Technology

Technology has changed how we play and consume sport. Television coverage has become more sophisticated, while technology has been used to reduce human error from officiating. Hawk Eye technology in tennis and cricket, for example, has successfully made scoring more accurate.

Social media has given fans direct access to fans, which is for the most part a great thing. It does have a dark side however, as recent reports of athletes being harassed on social media has shown. Athletes themselves have gotten in trouble for making inappropriate remarks on social media.

It will be fascinating to see how sport evolves over the next few years. If you want to be a part of this exciting industry, then have a look at the sports courses offered by the ACPE.

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