Game on! Aussies Celebrate Life With Sport

Australia’s 5.2 million sport fanatics will watch eight and a half days of sport, while more than 7.2 million active Australians will play sport for more than 200 hours this year, new research from Asteron Life has found.

On the eve of the Asteron Life Super Rugby season, Asteron Life’s Live, Love Sport report reveals the games we watch and play, what motivates us and which states are more sports mad than others.

“Sport is part of our DNA with 58% of Australians saying they value sport as ‘very’ or ‘extremely important’ in their lives,” Asteron Life’s Executive Manager Mark Vilo said.

“However, it seems we are becoming a nation of solitary participants with swimming, running and the gym now eclipsing traditional team activities such as football, cricket, AFL, netball, rugby league and rugby union for participation.

“The exact reverse occurs when we are spectators, with cricket (52%), AFL (49%), tennis (42%) and then rugby league (39%) the most watched pursuits.

“Two in three of us actively watch sport on a regular basis, with one in 10 even admitting to wagging work to watch sport, with an astonishing one in five Gen Ys having done so.

“An eye opening 7% of Australians lie to their family or friends in order to attend a sporting event,” Mr Vilo said.

Australia’s obsession with sport is known globally, and helps explain why Australians have conquered the world at different times in cricket, athletics, swimming, netball, sailing, tennis, rowing, motor racing, rugby union, rugby league, billiards, boxing, triathlon, lawn bowls, taekwondo, surfing and canoe slalom. 

Sport is so important to our national psyche that since the Australian of Year award was established in 1960, 13 sportsmen have won it.Mr Vilo said that overwhelmingly Australians take part in sport to exercise and keep fit (76%) while a third of us (37%) do it for the mateship and team spirit.

Australians might be known for their sports obsession around the world but surprisingly, only 14% consider ‘winning’ an important reason for participation.  Women play sport for exercise (80%), while men take part for the mateship (42%). 

Key findings of Asteron Life’s Live, Love Sport report:

  • More than half of all Australians (55%) rate their sporting ability as ‘good’ or ‘elite’
  • Gen Y is the only generation that spends more time playing sport (39%) than watching it (28%)
  • 55% of Australians watch sport for the entertainment, while 19% watch it for relaxation purposes
  • 40% of Australians exercise more than 4 hours a week
  • 37% of Australians play sport because of the sense of mateship and team spirit that it provides with 40% playing for ‘competition’ and ‘to win’
  • Men overwhelmingly watch more sport than women (78%) versus 57%.
  • One in 20 men watch more than 10 hours sport per week compared to one in 100 women
  • Women appear to be more selfless than men with almost half admitting to only ‘tolerating’ watching sport because they know their partner enjoys it Only one in four men admit to ‘tolerating’ sports
  • One in three Australians would consider missing a family event to watch sport
  • 30% of Australians are glued to their sport wherever they go, watching sport on their mobile or tablet device

Asteron Life’s Live, Love Sport report researched the national sporting participation and viewing habits of those aged 18-65+, including men and women.

On a state-by-state basis, NSW is where people go 'team shopping' and are willing to be entertained by multiple teams, while Victorians are the most likely to watch only the side they support.

Cricket may be the national game but its heart is in South Australia, with the highest proportion (67%) of all residents watching.

Victoria is also the volunteer capital of Australia, with the highest number of people (15%) volunteering to help out as coaches, managers, umpires and referees. 

The report found that one in ten Australians volunteer for community sporting clubs and organisations. This highlights the important role sport plays in bonding communities together, with volunteers reporting benefits such as feeling proud, happy, rewarded and satisfied. This also highlights the important role sports volunteers play in developing and reinforcing social networks and cohesion within communities.

“Volunteering is said to be worth more than $200 billion a year to the Australian economy matched only by its contribution to what it means to be an active and valued member of Australian society. Australians love to celebrate common interests and volunteering enables many of us to do that while also supporting your local community” Mr Vilo said. 

Click here to view the full report


About Asteron Life: Asteron Life is a specialist provider of life insurance to financial advisers in Australia and New Zealand and is a part of the Suncorp Group. Asteron Life’s broad range of life insurance products has been designed to protect customers, their families and businesses against the financial impacts of death, sickness or injury. For further information, visit:

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