AusPlay Background

playing hockey

What is AusPlay?

The Australian Sports Commission’s (ASC’s) task is to make Australian sport stronger. It is at the forefront of helping sports to succeed in a changing environment. This starts with evidence and research, identifying trends and opportunities within the sport sector. 

For the first time, the ASC has embarked on the AusPlay survey (AusPlay), a large scale national survey to track the sporting behaviours and activities of the Australian population. It is a key part of Play. Sport.  Australia.; the ASC’s game plan to get more Australians, particularly young Australians, playing sport more often. The ASC has committed to fund AusPlay for a minimum of three years (2016-18).

Key Features 

Some of the key features of AusPlay are:

  • It is the largest and most comprehensive survey of its kind ever conducted in Australia with annual target sample sizes of 20,000 adults aged 15 and over and approximately 3,600 children aged 0-14.
  • The results from AusPlay will complement existing data and research the ASC has conducted in recent years, including the Future of Australian Sport and Market Segmentation studies.
  • AusPlay is a demonstration of the ASC’s commitment to providing evidence based and sport market insights that help the sector better understand the participation landscape and identify strategies to grow participation. 
  • For the first time in an Australian public-sector funded survey, adults and children’s sport and physical recreation participation will be collected through the same national data collection instrument. 
  • The data tracked by AusPlay will help the sector better understand the relationship between parents and children active lifestyles and impacts on sport participation.
  • It covers a large breadth and depth of topics including tracking participation behaviours and how active Australians are.


The ASC is committed to providing robust data and sport market insights to help the sector better understand the participation landscape and identify strategies to grow participation. From late 2015, AusPlay became the single-source data currency for government and the sport sector that not only tracks Australian sport participation behaviours but also informs investment, policy and sport delivery by National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) and the sports network. 

The sport participation data from AusPlay will feed directly into the ASC’s annual Participation Investment Model.


The three main objectives of AusPlay are to:
  1. Provide insights to help sports grow participation and track trends;
  2. Provide data that informs government investment, policy and program delivery; and
  3. Identify and describe links between sport participation and other influential factors.


Since 2000-01 many government initiatives have adopted sport and physical recreation participation estimates as a performance indicator. Most recently, these estimates were published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). However, in June 2014 the ABS announced their cessation of funding for all sport and recreation data collection. This created a major gap in national sport and physical recreation data which the ASC has sought to fill through AusPlay.

The ASC conducted an open tender process for AusPlay in late 2014 through 2015 which resulted in ORC International being appointed by the ASC to deliver AusPlay. Following the open tender process the ASC embarked on an extensive consultation and survey design process, further details of which can be read under Method. Data collection for AusPlay commenced on 22 October 2015 and first results were publicly released on 8 December 2016. 

More information on the history of adults and children’s participation data for sport and physical recreation and how AusPlay differs from previous national surveys can be found in the fact sheets below.

Frequently asked questions 

Question Mark  Frequently asked questions (FAQs)