Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Sport fans want their teams to lead on environment, sustainability and inclusion issues

Sport fans want their teams to lead on environment, sustainability and inclusion issues
September 19, 2022

A new survey from YouGov has revealed that sport fans in 2022 have a concern about environmental, sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues with 47% of fans around the world considering whether brands are socially and environmentally responsible when making purchases.

The study, Global Sports 2022: Uncovering the Socially Responsible Sports Fan, from YouGov Sport, reveals that sport fans also believe there should be more DEI in sport (68%) and that DEI should be considered when putting on events (65%).

Aiming to improve understanding of sport fans and they what they want from sporting brands, teams, leagues and organisations, and aid rights holders and their sponsors engage with them, the study advises that 76% of the adult population follow sport.

Among this audience, the study found that 34% of fans would prefer to watch women’s sports over men’s, along with concern over pay disparities between genders.

Overall, 68% of global sport fans believe salaries of professional athletes should be based on skill, not gender, with women (70%) ranking this issue higher than men (67%).

More than half (56%) of global sports fans believe tennis tournaments should offer men and women equal prize money, while 51% believe the men’s and women’s World Cup winners should earn the same amount.

The majority (55%) of sports fans also don’t feel there is enough female representation in senior positions in the sports industry.

What fans want from sport organisations
Sports fans, more than the general population, gravitate to brands that take social and moral stands. They think positively about brands that communicate ethical messages (62% vs. 59%) and are willing to get involved in social issues (49% vs. 45%). They believe a brand’s success should be built by creating real connections with customers (66% vs. 64%).

They want brands to be authentic and transparent (84%), believe brands should show they care (85%) and should stand for something (78%). And they overwhelmingly believe professional sports people should be role models - 71%, compared to 65% of general sport fans and 61% of the global population.

Explaining that the YouGov Sport report delivers a clear picture for sports organisations and the companies that sponsor them that fans want more from their teams than just wins and championships, Nicole Pike, YouGov’s Senior Vice President and Head of Sports and Gaming, declared “fans want their teams and the brands that sponsor them, to be aware of social justice, the environment, DEI and other issues.

“And they want more than a message. They want teams and brands to act on these issues in a way that can champion change. For companies that take action, fans will reward them with their loyalty by purchasing their products.”

Australian sport fans
Following the release of the Uncovering the Socially Responsible Sports Fan report, YouGov has revealed that 77% of Australians are more likely to be a fan of sports, with older age groups more interested in following sport than younger generations.

The demographic divide breaks down as follows:
• Age 18 to 24 - 69% 
• Age 25 to 34 - 76%
• Age 35 to 44 - 77%
• Age 45 to 54 - 79%
• Age 55+ - 78%

Other key findings:
• 66% of Australians think that having the Olympics is good for the international community.
• 67% of Australians follow the Summer Olympics whereas 49% follow the Winter Olympics. 
• Among Australian sport fans, 66% watch sports less than five hours per week. 

Most followed national teams:
• Australian National Swim Team (Dolphins) (53%)
• Australian Men’s National Test Cricket Team (48%)
• Australian Men’s National Davis Cup Tennis Team (45%). 

Most followed games/codes/events (level of interest):
• Commonwealth Games - 71% 
• The Australian Open (Tennis) - 62%
• Wimbledon Tennis - 58%
• AFL - 57%
• State of Origin (men’s) - 50%

The Australian data was extracted from YouGov Profiles which tracks more then two million data variables from YouGov’s 20 million global panel members in 49 markets, covering demographic, psychographic, attitudinal, and behavioural consumer metrics, with data collected daily and updated weekly.

Click here to access the Global Sports 2022: Uncovering the Socially Responsible Sports Fan report.

Image: Fans engage with the West Coast Eagles AFLW team.

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-founder/Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-founder and Publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

In 2020, he launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

Read more from this author

Related Articles

14th September 2022 - Strategic partnership agreed between sponsorship platforms Turnstile and SponsorPulse

14th September 2022 - New Zealand Rugby penalised for failing to achieve board gender diversity target

7th September 2022 - AFL reveals new all-time club membership record

15th August 2022 - YouGov survey looks into how much sport Australians play versus how much they watch it

4th August 2022 - World Triathlon allows transgender women to keep competing in female international competition

26th July 2022 - Gemba research shows Australian sports organisations behind in the data game

11th July 2022 - Deakin University researchers to examine Victorian Government’s policy for gender quotas on sporting boards

25th June 2022 - Australian Olympic Committee says transgender rulings up to individual sports

21st June 2022 - Rugby league bans transgender athletes from international competition following FINA decision

20th June 2022 - New FINA policy effectively bans transgender athletes from competing in women’s swimming events

7th June 2022 - Gemba and ClimatePartner join forces for sport and entertainment sustainability offerings

18th March 2022 - AusCycling launches Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group

11th March 2022 - YouGov survey reveals Australian consumer’s hesitation lingers in the wake of COVID

1st February 2022 - Australians crave post pandemic adventure in 2022

24th January 2022 - YouGov survey reveals AFL as Australia’s most popular sport

26th November 2021 - International Olympic Committee releases new guidance on inclusion of transgender athletes

5th November 2021 - Asian event spotlights need for responsible tourism

17th July 2021 - International sport environment bodies call for global health protocols for venue operations

11th June 2021 - Motorsport Australia’s green impact initiative nominated for Sports Environment Alliance award

15th February 2021 - Australian Open generates most positive ‘buzz’ among sporting events and competitions

12th January 2021 - Six in 10 Australians plan a domestic holiday over the coming year

7th November 2020 - International Sporting Federations encouraged to explore post COVID-19 opportunities

30th July 2020 - Research suggests a quarter of teenage girls will not return to team sport

8th May 2019 - International sporting federations need to offer more to host venues and cities