Australian sports industry is an interesting subject of investigation as it is a complex body connected to many other life spheres of Australians. This research is going to reveal the main tendencies of Australian sport activities and the influence of both inside and outside factors upon Australian sports industry. The applied statistics will be related to the number of participants, game spectators and sport officials involved. Olympic results are also taken into consideration. Australian sports industry will be investigated from both recreational and professional point of view, finding out what major factors in the inside and outside environment of Australian sports culture influence the main indicators. Environmental issues and problems of Australian sports are found, and some solutions are recommended.
Sports in the Australian Society
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The history of sports in Australia starts in 1850s. It is one of the countries that took part in all Olympic Games that have ever taken place. Australian sportsmen often win golden medals and demonstrate impressive results on the highest levels of competition. For instance, the Olympic Games of 2004 showed that Australia was the fourth champion after traditional sport leaders – the USA, China and Russia. But the amount of Australian sportsmen is not limited by Olympic-level professionals only. National surveys prove that 11 million Australians tend to play games and conduct physical exercises on a regular base – this means that over 70% of all Australian citizens are active participants of the sports (Australian Sports Commission, 2010). Australian people are very keen on sports, and prefer both watching and playing it. The most recognized sports in Australia are cricket, rugby, swimming and tennis. Many other games are also practiced including horse riding, hockey, basketball, golf and surfing. Due to the peculiarities of the climate in this country, snowboarding and other winter sports are not as widely spread. Just as any other sports industry, Australian sports industry is tightly connected to other activities such as public relations, marketing, fitness, psychology, management, and kinesiology. It seems quite impossible to have a good prospective on Australian sports activities with no regard of other related spheres. Media is a significant part of all the activities, held in Australian sports. The majority of sport events are demonstrated by sport television programs and covered by radio stations. Government regulations protect the rights of free-air stations. Newspapers and magazines, talk shows, and news programs discuss major sport results and pay much attention to the problems of the industry. Even cinematograph is somewhat related to Australian sports – the most noticeable movies about Australian sportsmen are “The Final Winter” and “The Club”. Australian sports are characterised by a large amount of players with disabilities, children leagues and female teams. It means that Australian sport organisations do a good job on engaging all social classes, ages, and genders into national and world competitions as even limited physical abilities do not appear to be obstacles on the way to success. Women generally prefer to play netball. Local-level favourite sports are aerobics, fitness, tennis, cricket, swimming, surfing, rugby and running.
The Inside and Outside Environment of Australian Sports Industry
One of the features in Australian sports industry is the important role of sports and youth organisations. Australia holds over 120 national sports organisations, and thousands of smaller ones for local playing. There are many of them but Australian Sports Commission, Australian Canoeing, Confederation of Australian Sport (or Sport Industry Australia), and Australian Sports Foundation are probably the most noticeable. There are many sport leagues as well, including the National Basketball League, National Rugby League, Australian Football League, ANZ Championship, and the corresponding equivalent organisations for sportswomen. The goals of these organisations and sport leagues include involving more and more Australians in playing sports, increase the share of profits brought by sports and recreation to the gross domestic product, and improve the efficiency of lobbying activities by introducing a qualitative customer database. Moreover, such leagues build bridges and links between non-profit sports organisation, the Australian government and business sector. Sport and youth organisations make sure that the range of services and opportunities, available on the local level, grows wider each year. Business organisations are responsible for the economic and financial part of the industry – they are dealing with marketing, advertising, sponsorship and other related issues.
Cricket, Rugby and Other Most Popular Sports
When it comes to the most popular Australian sport, which is cricket, it is often referred to as national kind of sport. Cricket in Australia outweighs all other sport activities on all regional levels because of the highest spectator rates, television viewers and participant count. This concentrated interest is also reflected in the results, demonstrated by Australian cricketers worldwide, as the country is represented by one of the best cricket teams in the world. There are several great cricket teams on the domestic level as well. Local players are no less attracted to cricket playing than the most recognized professionals worldwide. For regular Australians cricket has become not only a sport activity but a way to socialize and get to know each other better playing cricket on the backyard. On the domestic level, there are six cricket teams for each state that compete each summer. The official amount of cricketers in Australia comes up to 550 thousand. The number of rugby players is also impressive as it overcomes the level of 650 thousand. Rugby is the leader sport for winter seasons, and enjoys special popularity in eastern Australia. The matches and competitions, related to rugby, are very attractive for Australians to watch on the television. Rugby is generally perceived as “a simple man’s game”, originating from the working class of Australia. As soon as the national rugby league competition “Super 14” ends, the finalists are allowed to participate in “Super 15” where the rugby teams from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand meet. Warm climate and the closeness of the coastline make swimming a perfect kind of sport in Australia. The Australian Alps and some Tasmanian areas have regular snowfalls, making it possible for many Australians to participate in winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, biathlon, skating, bobsleigh, and hockey. The 90s demonstrated a sudden rise of the attention to basketball competitions, and at the current moment basketball appears to be the most popular kind of sport for juniors.
Issues Taking Place in Australian Sport Activities and Possible Solutions
In spite of the great sports participation rates, the positive influence of sport, youth and recreation organisations, and nationwide interest to the sport events, there are several issues and problems that are essential to be resolved either by the Australian government or by sport leagues. Australian sports influence the environment and the ecological situation of this country greatly. Many organisations and leagues, related to the sports industry, are not reducing their carbon footprints (Liu, 2011). Obviously, the amount of electricity that is consumed by Australian sports is enormous because of the growing number of night matches and games. Besides, as soon as Australian teams stepped into the world sport stage, the number of tourists who travel to Australia by plane has grown drastically. Evidently, this leads to the increased emission of greenhouse gas. The marketing specialists and advertisers who operate in sports industry do not always think about all the hidden dangers of their activities.
One of the possible solutions would be integrating sport businesses and organisations with resource-saving companies of Australia such as Origin Energy (Liu, 2011). In fact, this company has already taken part in many campaigns, related to environmental pollution. Origin Energy has certain experience of partnership with AFL (Australian Football League), and has already saved the planet from tons of greenhouse gas. Some other issues are probably common in all world countries and include violence in sports, racism, prejudice, and problematic recruitment of sport officials (Cuskelly, 2003). In fact, these problems are all related to each other and require tolerance on all sides of the conflict (Warren, 1993). Australian sport organisations need to make sure that their go-green steps are enough to compensate the damage, done by resource-consuming sport events and advertising.