Sports Facts

People and sport


AT the end of June 2001 there were 3951 sporting organisations (not including recreation and leisure) that employed 43,154 people. If you include volunteers, this number increases by a further 170,329.


These organisations generated income of $2.6 billion, and comprised:

1,937 sports clubs, teams and individuals;

755 sports administration organisations; and

1,259 other sports support organisations.

Nearly 83,000 people listed their occupation in the 2001 census as sport and recreation-based, an increase of 21.6 per cent since 1996. Of these:

19,639 (23.7 per cent) were employed directly with sports or in services to sports industries;

13,060 (15.7 per cent) were employed in sports grounds and facilities industries;

14,845 (17.9 per cent) were employed in other sport and leisure industries; and

35,446 (42.7 per cent) were employed in other related industries.

In the same period there were more males employed in sport and recreation than females 50,113 compared with 32,895.


Of these, the occupations with the highest proportion of males were footballers, boat-builders and greenkeepers, while the popular female lines of work included gymnastics coaches and fitness instructors.


Volunteers put in about 165 million hours every year, and are responsible for 80 per cent of the industry’s administration.

Without the 1.5 million volunteers in sport, recreation and leisure, Australian household expenditure would increase by $330 per week, saving families more than $17,000 each year.


Household expenditure on sport and recreation products during 1998-1999 was nearly $4.1 billion, including:

$1.97 billion on sport and physical recreation services;

$1.63 billion on sports, physical recreation and camping equipment; and

$493 million on sport and recreation vehicles.

In addition, a further $13 billion was spent on leisure products, including:

$7.8 billion on food and beverage serving services;

$2.15 billion on gambling; and

$3 billion on other miscellaneous leisure products.


In 1999, 47.1 per cent of the Australian population attended a sporting match or competition. This figure does not include the many more who attended junior and school sporting fixtures.


Over half the WA population attended sports matches (51.8 per cent), approximately 4 per cent higher than the national average.

Most popular sports attended nationally:

Australian Rules Football (2.5 million);

Horse racing (1.8 million);

Motor sports (1.6 million); and

Rugby League (1.5 million).


The number of people attending Australian Rules matches in WA was 24.5 per cent of the population, which was 8 per cent higher than the national average. This represents a 4 per cent attendance increase between 1995 and 1999.


Source: Department of Sport and Recreation

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