This question is on every sport fan’s mind.
What sports are thriving, and which ones are slowly making their way out of Australia?
We all know that AFL, cricket, rugby league and even football are on the rise, but which sports don’t have the next generation of young supporters to guide the sport into the future?
At the moment, golf is doing fine. Generally clubs have a good number of members and the chances are that most Aussie adults know how to play golf, whether they can shoot four over par or if they just play for fun.
The next generation, on the other hand, is very different. Participation rates are dropping significantly. Golf is making way for team sports like AFL or football for most children. Golf only ranked 11 on the list of the most-played sports in Australia last year and I’m sure that’s dropping. In most cases, clubs are searching for junior members, which are hugely outranked by seniors. It’s on the way down.
While rugby league is one of Australia’s most popular sports, rugby union is declining in participation. Super Rugby is nothing compared to NRL, with most Aussies opting not to play club rugby. There are a few juniors who do play competitive club rugby but the chances of them actually staying with rugby union until seniors is low.
In 2001, 148,000 people (of all ages) played rugby union in Australia. In 2016, only 55,000 participated. The Wallabies do quite well considering the amount of people that play, and therefore brings a good TV audience. In the end, rugby union in Australia is going downhill.
Some Olympic sports like swimming, basketball and athletics are booming, the majority simply do not have the funding needed to advertise and promote their sport.
Fencing, archery, badminton, table tennis and rugby sevens are all examples of Olympic sports that are declining, slowly but surely. They simply do not have the funding.