More than 1.4 million play cricket in 2016-17 season
August 11, 2017
Total female participation in the sport increased to 393,735, making up 27.5% of all participants, a 25% increase from the previous year.
Female participation is highest in schools, making up 88.8% of all female participants, and nearly half of all school participants are girls.
Junior Cricket continues to thrive across the country, with 135,223 kids aged between 5 and 12 participating in MILO in2CRICKET, MILO T20 Blast and junior club cricket.
Indigenous cricket saw a massive 47.3% growth with a total of 54,326 participants last year, equating to an approximate increase of 580% since 2013. There are now more than 60 indigenous players participating in First Grade teams in Premier Cricket competitions around the country.
Multicultural participants saw an 18.3% growth, totalling 222,120 and participants with a disability totalled 23,172, at a 32.5% growth.
NSW and ACT topped participation in the nation with 27% of participants from the State and Territory, followed closely by Victoria which recorded 26% of all participants.
Speaking on the results, Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Sutherland, said:
“We are delighted to see another year of significant growth, lifting the number of Australians taking part in cricket above 1.4 million. That’s a great achievement and a tribute to the 50,000-plus volunteers around the country who dedicate so much of their time to our national sport.
“We are really pleased to see the growth in participation amongst women and girls. Last winter we launched a Growing Cricket for Girls Fund, with an initial investment of $1.5m. It saw associations and clubs create 363 new teams across 46 new all-girl competitions, demonstrating both the huge demand and the need for sport to create the right environment.
“With additional support from principal partner Commonwealth Bank, the total investment in Growing Cricket for Girls will be $6m over four years – the single biggest investment by an Australian national sporting organisation into teenage girls sport.’’
Mr Sutherland said the introduction of new junior formats, with the game adapted to the physical capabilities of children, had also been very successful.
“We invested $500,000 into this trial, and it proved conclusively that it made cricket more accessible and enjoyable. Children in Under 10/11s (Stage 1) and Under 12/13s (Stage 2) play games on a shorter pitch to suit the players’ size and physical capabilities, with shorter boundaries and fewer fielders to increase on-field activity. Everyone has an opportunity to bat, each player bowls and games are finished in two hours for Stage 1 and three hours for Stage 2.
“The end result is that children learn the skills faster, and develop great confidence and passion for the game.”
The new formats will be rolled out across Australia over the next three years.
Mr Sutherland said it was also cricket’s ambition to create 500 more female-friendly pavilions by 2022.
“We have worked very closely with over 400 councils across the country to undertake a national facilities audit to make sure that we have collected the right data, so that together we can develop effective plans to address the future facility needs of our sport. We can only address these with everyone working collaboratively and partnership with government, local communities and other sports is going to be of importance.
Cricket Australia has spent $500,000 on conducting the audit.
“This is an investment in the future. We can only provide the best support for the grassroots of our game if we understand what the needs are.
“By way of example, the approximate cost of constructing another 500 female-friendly pavilions by 2022 is $1 billion,” Mr Sutherland said. “That sort of investment needs all parties to have the right sort of information to set the priorities, and Cricket Australia is pleased that its audit will be a core part of that decision-making.
Cricket continued to demonstrate its appeal over the past year. Australian cricket set a new attendance record, attracting more than 1.8m Australians to elite cricket in 2016-17. The summer also saw strong TV ratings and record digital engagement.
A total of 1,863,846 people attended international cricket, the KFC Big Bash League (BBL), and the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), making 2016-17 the most highly attended Australian cricket season on record, surpassing the previous peak of 1,727,270 set last year.
The record attendance figures were backed up by strong TV ratings across the summer. An average of 1.05 million watched the Test, One Day International, and T20INTL matches broadcast on the Nine Network, with a peak audience of 2.189 million during Session 3 on Day 4 of the Commonwealth Bank Test against South Africa in Adelaide.
The second season of the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League was another great success, with more than 121,000 fans heading along to matches throughout the season. An increased number of matches televised by Network Ten – 12, up from 10 in WBBL|01 – was well received, with an average of 239,000 people tuning in per match, while Cricket Australia’s live streaming of all non-televised matches on the cricket.com.au website, Facebook and CA Live App was enjoyed by an impressive 1.5 million fans around the country, while match highlights from WBBL|02 reached more than 7.3 million fans.
“The interest in the elite level of our game has now translated to our grassroots. That simply means, though, that we need to meet this demand, tackling the needs of clubs and schools, providing kids and particularly girls with a welcoming and suitable environment, and supporting our volunteers.
“All these will be key elements of our next five-year strategy, which we will unveil to the Australian cricket community, and the wider public, in the near future.”
“Growing our participation base and ensuring cricket is accessible to all Australian’s is a fundamental strategic objective. This drives Cricket’s sustainable future and will ensure cricket continues to be a sport of choice that inspires the next generation,” concluded Mr Sutherland.
About the Australian Cricket Census
The 2016-17 Census is the fifteenth annual auditing of Australian cricket participation. The Cricket Census has become an important information system for game development, setting targets, and monitoring successes and trends for the long‐term enhancement of Australian cricket.
A ‘participant’ is defined by the Australian Cricket Census as someone who participates in at least four sessions of a formal cricket program.
The 2016-17 census has been compiled by specialist researcher Street Ryan, with the cooperative efforts of Cricket Australia and each of the eight state and territory cricket associations.
The organisations are responsible for recording the number of programs, teams and registered players within their state/territory for each cricket program area.
Cricket Australia’s junior participation programs are supported by Nestlé and the Australian Government via the Australian Sports Commission. The Government support aims to get children healthy and active through participation in sport.
Street Ryan is responsible for the collection of participation figures for Australia’s major sports, including AFL, NRL, ARU, basketball, hockey and golf.