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Sport in Australia. Prof Peter Brown Dept of Tourism, Leisure, Hotel & Sport Management. What are we covering today?. Australian sport – preliminary impressions What is sport? Overview of the Australian Sport System Socio-historical influences on sport in Australia

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sport in australia

Sport in Australia

Prof Peter Brown

Dept of Tourism, Leisure, Hotel & Sport Management

what are we covering today
What are we covering today?
  • Australian sport – preliminary impressions
  • What is sport?
  • Overview of the Australian Sport System
  • Socio-historical influences on sport in Australia
  • The role and place of women in Australian sport
  • Comparisons with the Norwegian sport system
australian sport some preliminary impressions
Australian sport – some preliminary impressions
  • List three words or phrases that reflect your impressions of sport in Australia
  • Can you name one Australian sportsman and one Australian sportswoman?
  • It has been argued that sport has a special place in Australian culture. What factors do you feel may have influenced the development of sport in Australia?
australian a sporting paradise
Australian – A sporting paradise?

Social commentators from within Australia and outside have declared that Australian’s are obsessed with sport


what is sport
What is sport?
  • ‘Amusement, diversion, fun’; ‘pastime, game’ (Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary)
  • ‘A range of activities which generally involve rules, physical exertion and/or coordination and competition between participants’ (Lynch & Veal, 1996)
  • ‘An institutionalised game demanding the demonstration of physical prowess’ (Loy 1979).
  • Covers activities on a continuum from play, through games to highly competitive sport
one view of australian sport
One view of Australian sport

‘Sport plays a vital role in the Australian community and touches almost every part of Australian life. It has helped to define our national identity and is one of the things that unifies our country. It also brings us a range of social and economic benefits: participants gain better health, social contacts and a better quality of life; our economy gains reduced health costs, higher productivity, increased employment and increases tourism. Australia’s success in a wide range of sports has enhanced our international reputation.’

Paul Keating - CAS Patron (February, 1996)

another view of australian sport
Another view of Australian Sport


  • 9.1 million persons (62.4% of the pop.) participated in physical activities for recreation, and 7 million (48.2% of the pop.) attended at least one sports event in 2002.
  • The most popular organised sport for boys is soccer (22.2% of pop) and for girls is netball (18.1% of pop)
  • 6.5 million registered sport participants
  • 30,000 clubs and associations
  • 1.4 million volunteers
  • Approx 140,000 employees
  • $1 billion annual expenditure by government at all levels
  • Accounts for 8% of the economy (Gross Domestic Product)

Service delivery by

  • Public sector - all levels of government
  • Private / for-profit sector
  • Not for profit / community sector
the australian sport system
The Australian sport system




(players, officials,














Intermediate Level Sport

Mass Participation Sport

the australian sport system12
The Australian sport system
  • Three sector model:
    • Government
    • Community
    • Commercial/private
  • Important web site – peak government agency - Australian Sports Commission

government sector support of sport
Government sector – support of sport
  • Commonwealth/Federal – policy “Participation vs. Elite”, activity programs, National Sport Organisation (NSO) funding, elite athlete support
  • State – major event support, State Sport Organisation (SSO) funding, venue development
  • Local (75% of all funding) – facility provision, club support, volunteer training
community sector support of sport
Community sector – support of sport
  • Volunteers at club level
  • Officials, coaches, administrators, players
  • Facility management
  • Fundraising
  • Player development
  • Sustains the “system”
commercial private sector support of sport
Commercial/private sector – support of sport
  • Equipment supplies
  • Event management
  • Venue management
  • Athlete management
  • Media
  • Sponsorship (eg Greg Norman Australia’s first golfing millionaire)
  • Professional sport leagues

Contemporary Sport Structure

Elite Sport Sport Organisation Funding/Facilities

International Sport


Australian Institute

of Sport

National Sporting


Australian Sports


State Sport


State Sporting


State Depts of

Sport & Recreation

Regional Sport




Local Government

key themes surrounding the history of women in australian sport
Key themes surrounding the history of women in Australian sport
  • History of exclusion
  • Biological myths
  • Social conventions
  • Patriarchal nature of sports organisations
  • Media representations of gender relations
hegemonic processes associated with sports media
Hegemonic processes associated with sports media
  • The relative ‘visibility’ of women in sports news
  • The ‘containment’ of women in sports news.
  • ‘Stereotypical’ representations of gender in sports news.
how visible are women in sports news
How visible are women in sports news?
  • TV - 2% of total sports broadcasting
  • Radio - 1.4% of total sports broadcasts
  • Sports magazines - 6.8% of sports coverage
  • Newspapers - 10.7% of coverage

(Source ASC 1997)

to what extent are women contained in sports reports
To what extent are women contained in sports reports?
  • Positioning of articles
  • Timing of coverage
  • Sports covered
workshop time
Workshop time
  • Groups of 4
  • 15 minutes to create a list of differences and similarities between the Australian and Norwegian sport systems in 4 areas:
    • Government policy and programs
    • Community sport
    • Professional sport
    • Historical and cultural influences
  • AND list any questions you may have about Australian sport?