SUSTAINABILITY AND MENTAL HEALTH ARE TOP ISSUES FOR AUSTRALIAN SPORTS FANS

CRAIG ROBERTS

Head of Strategy & Insights

in Cause

October 28, 2020

New Gemba research highlights the societal and community causes that Australian sports fans are most passionate about.

Natural disasters and environmental sustainability rank among the top issues sports fans rate as the most important societal issues facing Australia, according to new research from sport and entertainment consultancy Gemba.

Mental health is also a “burning platform” issue for Australian sports fans.

And in a year in which racial injustice took centre stage globally via the #BlackLivesMatter movement, racial equality is the third most important issue for Australians aged 16-24.

Our latest research highlights the social, community and political issues that Australians and Aussie sports fans believe are important, and provides guidance for sports organisations and the brands that sponsor them as to where they could be focusing their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives.

Sports fans are passionate about the big social and community issues of our time, and sport can be an important channel to build awareness and action to make positive change in society.

The past few years has seen a big shift in terms of the old ‘sport should stick to sport and stay out of politics’ approach. Our big sporting organisations are active in community and equality initiatives, as well as raising awareness and delivering programs around mental health or specific causes such as the AFL and Motor Neuron Disease, or the Sydney Cricket Test and Breast Cancer.

Globally we are seeing athletes find their voices on political issues, and also brands like Nike amplifying those messages through their partnerships.

There is opportunity in Australia for sports and brands to work even better together to tackle head-on the issues that their fans are telling us are important to them.

Among 16-24 year olds, mental health is the top-ranked issue, followed by environmental sustainability, racial equality, and homelessness.

The research, conducted in September 2020, also showed that these top issues are gaining momentum, with a high proportion of respondents saying they care more about these issues over the past 12 months.

These insights can help sports organisations, brands and governments align their efforts on critical issues to make the most of corporate social responsibility investments, the reach and engagement of sport, and government programs and funding, to make a meaningful impact on the issues that matter most to Australians.

For any organisation, but especially for sports organisations, contributing to society and giving back is an important part of what they do.

But you can’t address every cause, so it’s important to identify a small number of issues that matter to your employees and your fans or customers, and where you can make an authentic investment and a meaningful difference.

Using this research Gemba can help organisations make decisions about how they can use the power of sport to connect with large numbers of people and help build awareness and action to drive change.

Download the FREE report now (click here to download)