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AusPlay results

AusPlay provides national, state and territory data on almost 400 different participation sports and activities in Australia and who is participating in them.

Data collection for AusPlay has been continuous since the survey commenced on 22 October 2015.

On 29 April 2022 Sport Australia released:

  • New national, state/territory and sport data tables for the 2021 calendar year.
  • A year-on-year comparison of selected measures across the six calendar years from 2016 to 2021. These can be found in the national data tables.
  • Updated data visualisations. These visualisations are based on AusPlay’s 120,000+ cumulative sample to date (October 2015 to December 2021), and include over 50 individual sport and physical activity reports.

Results can be downloaded below.

AusPlay Focus: Volunteering in sport

Sport is an important part of many Australians’ lives. But involvement in and enjoyment of sport is not limited to playing or participating. Many of us take on those essential jobs – non-playing roles such as coaches, officials, administrators and team managers – that keep community sport running week in week out all over the country.

This report provides an overview of volunteering in Australian sport. It examines how many volunteers we have, what their demographic profile is, which roles are most common, the sports that attract the most volunteers and where the opportunities lie to increase the number of Australians becoming involved in sport volunteering.

AusPlay Focus: Impact of COVID-19 on sport and physical activity participation

Sport Australia is using its two national surveys – AusPlay and the Community Perceptions Monitor – to understand the impact of COVID-19 on sport and physical activity participation.

With nine months’ of AusPlay data collection since restrictions were first introduced in late March 2020 we are beginning to get a clearer picture of how the pandemic is impacting participation. Our ongoing Community Perceptions Monitor is also providing useful insights into how quickly Australians are returning to play and volunteer in organised sport.

Our June 2021 update is a continuation of the original report in October 2020. It is accompanied by a one-page summary of the key findings and a new set of data visualisations that present AusPlay results from our two COVID-19 reports to date in an online format.

Previous releases
Early impact of COVID-19 on sport and physical activity participation - October 2020
Sport Australia first used AusPlay to report about the impact of COVID-19 on sport and physical activity participation in October 2020. The survey, with its 12-month recall period, is designed to track changes in participation levels over the long-term. To begin to understand changing behaviours before they appear in AusPlay’s long-term data, we added some questions to the survey in April to June 2020 that asked about activity in the previous seven days. Together with other research conducted by Sport Australia and other organisations, this AusPlay Focus report provides some early indications of what the impact of COVID-19 might be on participation in sport and physical activity.

AusPlay Focus: Early impact of COVID-19 on sport and physical activity participation

AusPlay, Australia’s biggest sporting survey has conducted research that provides us with a first look at the impact COVID-19 has had on our sport sector and physical activity levels of Australians.

From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, additional questions were built into the AusPlay survey as well as our other research tool - the Community Perceptions Monitor Survey.

The first theme that has emerged from the data is there are now more significant barriers to participate in organised sport than we have ever experienced before.

In addition to the barriers we have explored in the past, like cost, the top three concerns found in returning to sport because of the pandemic are:

  • the fear that people will not follow health rules,
  • the perception that sport causes COVID-19 to spread in the community, and
  • the ability of sports and associations to come up with ways to play sport safely.

Results show that these barriers are having a direct impact on participation, and in July 36% of people surveyed through AusPlay were extremely or very concerned about participating in organised sport.

By August, only 37% were back playing all the sports they expected to play in 2020.

But in more positive news, 87% of people are expected to be playing some organised sports again by years end.

The AusPlay data has also shown that the pandemic has reinforced the long-term trend towards non-sport-related means of adults getting active. During the pandemic the more accessible physical activities, such as running, walking, home gyms and cycling, continued to rise over sport and organised sporting activities.

Early signals also show motivations for participation in sport have shifted more towards mental and physical health versus fun and enjoyment.

This shows that the Australians recognise the importance of sport and physical activity not only for the fun and enjoyment but the impact it has on the mind and body.

The lockdown also affected children more than adults in organised physical activities.

73% of Australian adults remained active, compared with just 17% per cent of children.

Some of the top activities during lockdown demonstrated the ability to engage from home or solo.

The second theme that has emerged from the data is that Sport will be integral to Australia’s Recovery

Sport is ingrained in the Australian culture and the data we collected has reinforced the role sport has to play in a positive recovery from COVID-19 and the role sport played through getting the community through the pandemic.

Our recent Community Perceptions Monitor Survey data showed that people who were finding it easier to keep fit and active reported that they were feeling more optimistic, connected and had a greater sense of wellbeing.

The data has also shown that Australian’s initially missed their sport, after it was suspended for several weeks 44% of Australians said that they missed sport being in their lives.

This number has fallen steadily since professional and community sport restarted across areas across the country, and in August 29% of Australians said that they missed sport being in their lives

Stay tuned for more AusPlay reporting on the impacts of COVID-19. The next survey results are due for release in April 2021.

Latest release

Results from the most recent 12 months of AusPlay data.

Data visualisations

State and territory participation

Participant behaviour across states and territories.

State and territory participation

Participation by age

The way in which Australians choose to be active as they move through each life stage.

Participation data by age

Participation story of life stages


The health of Australians and how they compare against the health guideline criteria.

Australian health

Comparison against the Australian health guidelines

Past and future releases

Additional AusPlay data

Further information

Any questions or requests for further information about AusPlay can be directed to the Insights team at Sport Australia.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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