Cricket becomes the leading participation sport in Australia | Cricket Australia

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Cricket becomes the leading participation sport in Australia

August 23, 2016

Cricket in Australia is now one of the most popular and highest participation sports with a record 1,311,184 participating around the nation last year. The record sees an eight and a half per cent increase since 2014-15, currently placing cricket as the number one participation sport in Australia.

Female participation also reached record figures in 2015-16, growing nine per cent to 314,936 – 24 per cent of all participants in the sport and included 581 girls and women’s teams playing 11-a-side cricket at clubs.

The National Cricket Census, conducted by independent researcher Street Ryan, currently places cricket as Australia’s number one participation sport. Street Ryan, who is responsible for similar auditing of Australia’s other major participation sports, including AFL and NRL, measured participation over the last financial year.

The release of the 2015-16 Australian Cricket Census coincides with the National PlayCricket Registration Drive, Australian Cricket’s national participation campaign that calls on Australians to sign up to play cricket in 2016. Visit to find your local club or for more information.

On the back of strengthening cricket’s pathway from MILO in2CRICKET through MILO T20 Blast and junior club participation, club and community participation jumped 9.5 per cent to 454,657 in the past 12 months. Juniors aged 5‐12 years contributed 59.4 per cent of all 2015‐16 participants.

Club and community participation was spread across 422 associations and 3,741 clubs nationwide.

School and Indoor participation also enjoyed strong growth in the census, achieving 7.5 per cent and 9.9 per cent growth, respectively.

The growing diversity of Australian cricket, has seen a 28% increase in multicultural participation, 40% increase in Indigenous participation and 70% increase in disability participation from the last census.

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said:

“Cricket is clearly the sport of choice for many Australians and we’re proud to be billed as one of the biggest participation sports in the country.

“As another exciting summer approaches, we continue to be focused on growing our sport and inspiring Australians from all walks of life to pick up a bat and ball and play cricket.

“We’re committed to continuing to invest in the grass roots, as we have demonstrated with a $4 million commitment in launching a Growing Cricket for Girls fund recently.

“Last year the National Community Facility Funding Scheme (NCFFS) also invested $1.34 million into 89 community facility projects worth a total value of $11.2 million.

“It is pleasing to see major increases in diversity across our sport. Female participants are now nearly a quarter of our playing base and whilst this growth is something that we are particularly proud of, diversity will continue to be an area of strong focus, including the desire to see further increases in multicultural and indigenous participants.

“Those that play are supported by an army of more than 50,000 volunteers who meet the day-to-day challenges of ensuring the sport is played at community level – and it is appropriate to recognise their significant contribution.  It is also important to acknowledge our passionate staff from CA, states and territories – especially those working in game and market development – who continue to play such an important role in sustaining cricket’s growth.

“We had a considerable 2015-16 season with more than 1.7 million Australians attending international cricket and the men’s and women’s Big Bash League, making last season the country’s most attended cricket season on record.

“1.3 million fans tuned in to watch Test, ODI and T20 International matches broadcast on the Nine Network. We’re optimistic we can reach new heights this season, particularly with the level of competition heading to Australia in South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

“Complementing the strong results seen for international cricket, the Big Bash League rose to unprecedented levels of popularity in its fifth year, with an average audience of more than 1 million Australians tuning in to watch the tournament on Network TEN and a record breaking 1,030,495 people attending matches.

“The Women’s Big Bash League also achieved impressive results in just its first season. We were able to demonstrate a viable pathway for girls and women to pick up a bat and ball and take up cricket as a professional sport.  With more than 70,000 attendees at WBBL matches across the ten broadcast matches and an average television audience of 231,000 watching matches on TEN and ONE, we’re looking forward to continuing to improve on this in the coming season,” concluded Mr Sutherland.

2015-16 National Cricket Census Key Findings

  • 1,311,184 total participants. A growth of 8.5% on 2014-15.
    • 675,882 school participants
    • 454,657 club & community participants
    • 180,645 indoor participants
  • Club & Community cricket
    • 30,622 traditional 11-a-side teams
      • 3,139 modified teams
    • 16% growth in the Junior Participation Pathway
      • 40,245 MILO in2CRICKET
      • 21,600 MILO T20 Blast
      • 83,138 junior age 9-12 yrs
  • 7.4% growth in school cricket
  • Diversity
    • 314,936 female participants
      • Growth of 9% from 2014-15
      • Women and girls make up 24% of all participants
    • 187,816 multicultural participants – 28% growth
    • 36,900 Indigenous participants – 40% growth
    • 17,492 disability participants – 70% growth


About the Australian Cricket Census

The 2015-16 Census is the fourteenth 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 2015-16 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.

Visit to find your local club or for more information.