Vicsport COVID-19 Survey - Results and Insights

During early 2021, Vicsport conducted the ‘Community Sport and Recreation COVID-19 Survey’, aimed at collecting data on how the industry had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as lockdowns throughout Victoria.

The topics covered in the survey included the effects on player, member, volunteer and staff retention, the difference in where, how and when sport is played, how sports organisations approached handling the pandemic including moving events online, and whether these perceived impacts of COVID-19 will have long-term effects on their sport.

The survey findings support further evidence that Vicsport received via online and direct communications since the Victorian Government declared a State of Emergency in March 2020.

Responses were collated in April 2021.

The Results


  • 71% of sports had experienced a decrease in the number of players, with only 9% of sports reporting an increase
  • In terms of demographics, participation rates of Junior Girls dropped by 56% while Senior Men saw the highest increase at 12%
  • The main reasons reported for changes in player participation: change in priorities (40%), level of uncertainty (40%), change in routine (29%) and health and safety concerns (29%)
  • Whilst sports may be perceived as being seasonal, nearly all sports (89%) are played in Victoria year round
  • Almost a third of sports (31%) had completely resumed activities before the fourth lockdown of May 2021 with no changes in operations while just under half (49%) of sports continued most activities or were able to find alternatives to competition dates and programs


  • Over half of sports (57%) reported a decrease in volunteer numbers
  • The main reasons reported for loss of volunteers: level of uncertainty (46%), health and safety concerns (34%) as well as loss of interest (23%)
  • Over half of sports (53%) reported needing more volunteers to cope with delivering sport due to COVID-19


  • Half of sports (51%) reported a loss of staff members with people within development (31%) and administration (29%) roles the areas hardest hit
  • 71% of sports saw their revenue drop and 38% had decreased expenses


  • When questioned about the resources and assistance required to continue to manage and thrive during COVID-19 recovery, half of the respondents indicated volunteer resources (53%) and additional staff (50%) while revenue/financial assistance (47%), training in best practice administration and government (38%) and training in online engagement (24%) were also popular.

Future Actions

Clearly, the sport sector has been heavily impacted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to be impacted for some time. The results demonstrate the impact on sport through decreased number of players, volunteers and core staff as well as a decline in finances.

With another two lockdowns in Victoria already experienced post this survey, the strain on the capacity of sport will be further impacted.

Vicsport is now working with the State Government of Victoria to develop and implement strategies that assist the sport sector during the long road of COVID-19 recovery.

We will continue to provide online support to the sport sector including running the fortnightly COVID-19 catch-ups for the sport and recreation industry hosted by Vicsport CEO Lisa Hasker, holding beneficial events such as last year’s COVID-19 Webinar series and Retention and Participation webinar as well as providing bespoke advice and advocacy.

Vicsport will continue to support sport and we have a devoted web page for COVID-19 information for our members. Vicsport can be contacted via or

Government Partners

Preferred Suppliers