Social Sport

Social Sport      
Prepared by  Prepared by: Dr Ralph Richards, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport, Sport Australia (formerly Australian Sports Commission)
evaluated by  Evaluated by: Steve Pallas, Managing Director, Sports Community (June 2016)
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated: 2 May 2018      
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'Social sport' is a term used to identify one's engagement in sport in a less formal (i.e. anytime, anywhere) context. The motivation for participation and the personal and social outcomes of participation can vary from one individual to another. Social sport usually places less emphasis on performance results and their meaning and more emphasis on the relationships between participants. Although the element of competition is often present in social sport, it is generally not controlled or sanctioned by a governing body.

Most sports have a social aspect as well as a personal context. Therefore, sport has a social influence on its participants and sport (in all its forms) is also influenced by social conventions.

Social sports may have many elements in common with organised recreational sports, and a similar look and feel to standard or traditional competitive sports, but by their nature social sports remain informal.

More information can be found it the Clearinghouse for Sport portfolio, What is Sport?

Key Messages 


Social sport and organised sport both have common and uniquely defining factors, they can look similar or be separate.


Sport and physical activity can be viewed in a social, as well as a personal fitness context.


The Australian sports ‘market’ contributes about 2% to Australia's Gross Domestic Product (approximately $35.5 billion, Australian Dollars) and it's estimated that approximately 22% of this is derived from ‘social sport’.

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