Trends in organised sport membership: Impact on sustainability

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Eime, Rochelle ORCID: 0000-0002-8614-2813, Payne, Warren ORCID: 0000-0001-5046-3992 and Harvey, John ORCID: 0000-0001-6927-6580 (2009) Trends in organised sport membership: Impact on sustainability. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 12 (1). pp. 123-129. ISSN 1440-2440


Sporting clubs play a key role in community-level physical activity. This study investigated participation trends in sport club membership. A survey of 50 State sports governing bodies in Victoria, Australia collected information on factors affecting membership trends. The records for four of these sports were analysed for the 6 years, 1998–2003. Three sports reported increases in total membership (average annual rates (AARs): 0.3, 1.9 and 12.4%), and one reported a decrease (AAR: −1.0%). There was a decrease in both the absolute number (AARs: −1.1%, −2.3%, and −3.5%) and the proportion (AARs: −0.5%, −0.7%, −1.7% and −2.3%) of adult members. The number of junior club members increased slightly over the 6-year period in two sports (AARs: 0.5% and 0.7%), increased substantially in one (AAR: 12.2%) and decreased in one (AAR: −6.7%). The number of members playing modified sports increased in two sports (AARs: 2.8% and 3.3%), increased substantially in one (AARs: 53.1%) and decreased in one (AAR: −16.3%). The introduction of modified sport for younger participants is relatively new, resulting in sports accessing a new market to maintain or increase their total membership. However, the influx of younger members was not matched by associated increases in adult members. This places increased pressure upon adult members to maintain the infrastructure to support younger members. The issues of decreased adult membership and increased junior membership need to be addressed in order to ensure that community sporting clubs can be sustained and fulfil their potential to act as a vehicle for public health initiatives

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1016/j.jsams.2007.09.001
Official URL
Subjects Historical > SEO Classification > 9104 Management and Productivity
Current > Division/Research > Other
Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Keywords ResPubID19437, Participation, Structured sport, Club membership
Citations in Scopus 19 - View on Scopus
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