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Victorian participation in organised sport

Our yearly snapshot of participation in organised community sports in Victoria.

7 May 2015
Research and Publications

Spanning 7 years, this annual research project is a partnership between VicHealth, Sport and Recreation Victoria, Victoria University, Federation University, and 13 Victorian state sporting associations. You can access all the reports below.

Sport participation in Victoria 2015-2021

The 2021 research summary looks at how the organised sport participation has evolved over a 7-year period with a special focus on the impact of COVID-19 and the recovery of participation in sport.

The research involves data gathered across 10 popular sports and compares participation rates across age, sex and region between 2015-2021.

Access the full report

TL:DR - the important bits

  • The impact of COVID-19 on community sport participation in Victoria during 2020 was significant, with an overall participation decrease of 27%.
  • However, in 2021, sport organisations in Victoria have managed to bring back many participants to playing sport at pre-pandemic levels.
  • Fewer young Victorians and females returned to sport, making a strong case for more flexible, inclusive and equitable sporting opportunities.
  • The research calls for sport organisations to think beyond the traditional competitive structures - and focus on the fun, friendships and social connections aspects - to ensure lifelong participation in sport.

Quick stats

  • The total participation numbers and participation rate (of the Victorian population) across the sports in 2021 were: 866, 736/12.9% of total population.
  • Sport participation is highest among children and adolescents (10–14 years) (57%) and drops significantly during late adolescence (32%).
  • Sport participation rates (across all ages) are higher for males (17%) than females (9%) in Victoria.
  • Sport participation rates are higher in regional Victoria (16%) compared to metropolitan Melbourne (12%).
  • Metropolitan-growth areas have considerably lower sport participation rates (9%) compared to all other regions.


  • Design programs and activities that re-engage females back into sport.
  • Develop retention strategies to address high drop-out rates among young adolescents (aged over 14 years).
  • Consider people focused engagement frameworks like Sport4Me.

More resources

Previous research

Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022
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Artwork Credit: Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022, acrylic on canvas. Learn more about this artwork.