How do Australian families feel about sports – and in what ways do they participate?

Nickelodeon Australia recently released a study on this topic. Here are key findings:

Sports are important to most Australian families. Over 70% of Australian parents say they encourage their child to participate in athletics for health and social reasons. For close to half (44%), sports are a big part of their kids’ lives. For smaller proportions of parents, sports are not of interest – 35% say they’re “not a sporting family” and 19% say sports aren’t important to them.

Some parents have high hopes for their kids’ athletic pursuits. More than a quarter of parents (27%) believe their child is good enough to play a sport competitively. And nearly a third (31%) would love their kids to play professionally one day.

Parents’ sports participation influences kids’ choices. There is a strong correlation between the sports kids play and the ones their parents do. It also goes the other way, too – 61% of kids that don’t participate in sports have parents that don’t. Dads tend to drive kids’ passion for sports, with 74% saying Dad loves sports the most in the family.

Some kids’ interest in playing sports wanes with age. Almost a third (31%) of kids stop playing sports as they get older. The main reason by far is just not wanting to anymore (51%), followed by a desire to try something new (17%) and the amount of time involved (17%).

When it comes to sports consumption, kids’ favorite teams and athletes are influenced by family. A third of parents say their kid has a favorite team. The main reason kids follow a team is family influence (53%), followed by where they live (41%) and friends’ influence (23%). Boys are more likely than girls to have a favorite team, and older kids are more likely to have one than their younger peers. A quarter of kids have a favorite sports star. While family influence is important (39%), so is being a good role model (43%) and where they live (21%).

Nearly two-thirds of kids watch sports on either TV, catch-up or online. For 54% of kids, viewing sports is a family affair. Additionally, 43% of kids read about sports, mostly via social media sites and FTA websites. Watching and reading about sports is more common among boys and increases with age.

A majority of kids and parents have attended a live sports event. Over half of kids (55%) and 71% of parents have been to a live sports event or game, with cricket as the most family-friendly sport to attend. What do families see as most important in a live sports event? Good food options (63%), entertainment for kids (57%) and crowd interaction (55%).