How to attract club members

Australia’s sporting clubs have the potential to recruit an additional 3.8 million members if they consider new ways of delivering sport to Australians who want to get involved in club based sport, according to a new report released today.

Minister for sport Senator Kate Lundy explained that the report – Market Segmentation for Sport Participation – identifies the key motivators, needs and barriers that underpin Australians’ decisions to participate in sport. ‘Club based sports have lots of opportunities to grow,’ said Senator Lundy. ‘Australians want different things from their sports clubs than they did 30 years ago and this research can help sports clubs to understand those needs.’

Senator Lundy said this research is an Australian first and will be an important new tool that will help sports understand the changes in society affecting people’s willingness to participate in club based sport. ‘The research identifies there are some 3.8 million Australians who are interested in joining a club. But clubs need to offer sport in a way that appeals to these Australians – and that will be the challenge for clubs across the country.

‘The research also reminds sports that retaining current members is much more efficient than trying to recruit new members, but that many sports lose substantial numbers of members as members get older.’

The research identifies 10 adult segments, including those that represent the greatest potential to grow and maintain sport participation.

Segments of the adult population identified for clubs to attract new members include:

• Sidelined Sportsters: This group enjoy sport and were often members of sports clubs as kids, but no longer are. This group enjoys the camaraderie of club based sport but, to join a club again, they need greater flexibility from sports clubs.

• Club Wary: This group are very positive about sport and enjoy challenging themselves. While not overly critical of clubs, they have some reservations and feel that clubs can at times be ‘cliquey’ or ‘exclusive’.

• Ponderers: Often married with children, this group are active but family take up much of their time. For this group, clubs can be seen as a way to escape their current daily routine. However, they need convincing they can join without neglecting their family and lifestyle commitments.

The research was commissioned by the Australian Sports Commission and conducted by GfK Blue Moon in response to the sport sector saying it needed to better understand changing participation markets and targeting of resources.

‘I’m confident the study will provide sports with much greater clarity on who they can tap into within their communities to grow their sport and, at the same time, provide more opportunities for potential participants,’ said Senator Lundy. ‘Together with the release of The Future of Australian Sport research earlier this week, highlighting megatrends likely to impact on Australian sport over the next 30 years, this segmentation study provides an evidence base that sport sector partners can use to guide future participation planning and resources.’

The two reports have been released in the lead up to the Our Sporting Future Conference, which is being held in Melbourne on Thursday and Friday, and will see important issues and opportunities for the Australian sports system discussed by the leaders of Australian sport.

From the AIS


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