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Exercise worth $16.4 billion a year to Aussies

28 April 2023

Australians spent $16.4 billion on sport and physical activity last year according to new data from the Australian Sports Commission (ASC).

A woman holding a yoga mat, a boy with a soccer ball, a young girl with a basketball and a woman holding a sports drink bottle
Just over half of adults and almost three quarters of children paid to play in the 12 months to December 2022.

Fast facts

  • $12.5b spent on adults 15+ participation in the last 12 months
  • $3.9b spent on children’s organised outside of school participation in the last 12 months

The ASC’s latest AusPlay data looked at how much Australians pay to participate in sport and non-sport related activities across the country.

It found adults spent $12.5 billion on participation last year with around half ($6b) spent on sport-related activities.

$3.9 billion was spent on children’s organised outside of school participation with the majority ($3.3b) spent on sport-related activities.

The median spend for males on sport and physical activity was $624 last year compared to $648 for females. For children, this figure was $600 for boys and $800 for girls. This data is the fees paid to an organisation or venue to participate and does not include other costs, like equipment or travel.

Just over half (53 per cent) of adults and almost three quarters (71 per cent) of children paid to play in the 12 months to December 2022.

ASC CEO Kieren Perkins OAM said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic and rising cost of living pressures the amount spent to play hasn’t changed significantly over time.

“Adults paid $634 on sport or physical activity last year compared to $600 in 2020 while for children this figure was $650 in 2022 and $600 in 2020.”

“It’s clear that Australians see the value of sport and continue to invest in it as they recognise the benefits an active lifestyle offers.”

But he said being active didn’t have to come at a cost adding that there are many activities Australians continue to enjoy for free.

“More than 9,000,000 participants told us they walk for exercise, with running/jogging, cycling, swimming, playing football/soccer with friends and surfing the most popular free sport-related activities Australians took part in.”

New sport injury data is also available on the Clearinghouse for Sport. The ASC is working with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) to support their National Sports Injury Data Strategy and learn more about community sport injuries in Australia.

New questions were recently added to the AusPlay survey which complement data the AIHW collects on emergency department presentations and hospital stays.

It found that 3.5 million Australian adults aged 18+ (19 per cent) were injured playing sport or undertaking physical activity in the last 12 months. More males (2 million) injured themselves than females (1.5 million) with the highest number of injuries coming from mainstream cardio (running/jogging, walking, cycling) and fitness activities (fitness/gym). The rate of injury was greatest among participants of outdoor team sports.

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