Organized sports such as cricket, rugby union and netball have been popular among Australians since their introduction from Britain during the colonial period. While Australian sporting interests are heavily influenced by British culture, the country has still managed to develop its own unique sporting identity. Australian rules football, developed in the 19th century in Australia, is now one of the most popular sports in the country, both in terms of spectator attendance and participation. Professional athletes in this sport can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
Many Australians are introduced to sports from a young age and it is common for children to participate in organized sports such as swimming, football and gymnastics. Youth participation in sports can vary greatly but over 50 percent of Australian children participate in sports at least once per week.
As spectators, Australians are some of the most enthusiastic in the world. Sports such as rugby, Australian rules football, horseracing and cricket have historically drawn in large numbers, and attendance for these sports continue to be high. While male sporting events have traditionally been more popular in Australia, recent trends have shown women’s sports drawing in large numbers of spectators as well. The Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) in particular has seen a surge in popularity which has been translated into high attendance numbers.
The fitness center and gym industry has continued to grow, with more and more Australians opting to join gyms over the past few years. The number of these facilities has grown accordingly to accommodate new members. Low-cost 24-hour gyms have driven the majority of this growth. Employment in this sector was also forecasted to increase in to 2019, with many gym patrons valuing trained and qualified instructors for their workouts.