Club Sport is in Crisis

Club Sport is in Crisis

October 20, 2023


In May and June 2021, we carried out a survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on community sport. It is estimated that over 16,000 of these local sports clubs are at risk of closure due to financial losses and new costs associated with COVID-19.

COVID-19 has created a crisis that threatens the existence of thousands of community sport clubs across Australia, and the communities of members, volunteers, coaches, and families that are involved with them. This survey reveals that community sport’s shutdown has damaged the physical and mental health of millions of Australians. Key findings include:

  • 93% of all clubs surveyed have lost money since the onset of COVID-19, caused by a steep decline in revenues and the need to pay ongoing costs;

  • Up to 80% of clubs forecast ongoing reductions in core revenue streams (such as memberships, local sponsorships and community fundraising), while 97% of all clubs surveyed face additional COVID-19-related costs;

  • These new financial realities threaten the sustainability of community sports clubs. Around one in four respondents cited organisational solvency as a major concern - meaning over 16,000 community sports clubs are at risk of closure if financial support is not provided;

  • COVID-19 has also significantly impacted Australia’s 3 million sporting volunteers, with up to 43% of sports clubs projecting a decline in volunteering, contributing further to fears about the sustainability of many local community sports clubs.

  • In aggregate the support needed is in the region of $1.2bn across Australia’s 70,000 community sports clubs;

Download the Australian Sports Foundation Covid-19 Report

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