A Year in Australian Sport

A Year in Australian Sport

October 19, 2023



2019-20 brought with it unprecedented challenges and changed the day to day lives of millions of Australians. 

The havoc wrought by the summer of bushfires hit community sports clubs hard, damaging facilities and equipment, and causing financial hardship for affected members. This was closely followed by COVID-19, which has created a crisis that threatens the existence of thousands of community sport clubs across Australia – and, of course, impacts the millions of members, volunteers, coaches, and families that make up community sport all over Australia. 

Despite these challenges, the financial year results continue to recognise the high regard Australians place on sport and the important role sport plays within communities. In FY20, the Australian Sports Foundation distributed a record $43.36m to Australian sports clubs and athletes, as a result of generous support from donors in communities all over the country.   

 Sports Foundation Chief Executive, Patrick Walker, said  “The 2018-19 financial year was a record result for philanthropic funding for sport at all levels throughout Australia. Sport helps create better, healthier and more vibrant societies and we thank Australians for their continued generosity and support of their club and community”.  

Active sports participation has many proven health benefits such as combatting obesity and other health problems that are linked to sedentary lifestyles, including heart disease and cancers. Importantly, studies have also shown that sports participation helps to improve mental health, and the Sports Foundation believes that sport has a particularly important part to play in building our resilience and social cohesion as we recover from the challenges of the pandemic. 

Mr Walker said there were several fundraising highlights in 2019-20.  

  • A record $43.36m was distributed to Australian sports clubs and athletes, funded by donations from nearly 23,000 generous donors  

  • The Sports Foundation supported over 4,400 individual fundraisers by clubs, schools, athletes and organisations at all levels  

  • $2.6 million was donated to support clubs affected by COVID-19 

  • $1.4 million was donated to support bushfire-affected clubs  

  • Emerging or representative athletes received more than $1.41 million in FY20 to support their training, coaching and competition costs  

The top 10 fundraising sports in 2019-20 were: 

  1. AFL $15.70M 

  2. Golf $3.55M 

  3. Football $3.29M 

  4. Rugby Union $3.06M 

  5. Sailing $3.00M 

  6. Basketball $2.98M 

  7. Rugby League $2.47M 

  8. Multi-Sport $2.45M 

  9. Rowing $1.12M 

  10. Softball $1.08M

The Australian Sports Foundation was established by the Australian Government in the 1980’s, and today is Australia’s leading sports fundraiser and charity. 

Sport is at the heart of every community which is why we have helped countless sporting clubs, organisations, schools and athletes across Australia with funding. Over the decades we have distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to Aussie sports clubs and athletes to help develop an inclusive and active sporting nation.  

We do this because we know that sport has the power to enhance lives. It improves an individual’s physical and mental health and brings people and communities together. It is fundamental to the Australian way of life.

Our Vision is that everyone in Australia, regardless of background, ability or culture, has access to the health and social benefits of sport.  

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