Future of amateur sport ‘in the balance’ in Wānaka

Results of the 2019 National Sport Club Survey (NSCS), recently undertaken by the New Zealand Amateur Sport Association (NZASA) and Auckland University of Technology’s Sport Performance Research Institute of New Zealand (SPRINZ), reveal that many people deeply involved in amateur sport are not assured of a positive future. A lack of support and resources were identified as pressing issues.

A survey revealed that clubs of over 200 members are getting larger and clubs of less than 100 members are getting smaller. This shifting landscape makes it imperative for national sport organisations of all codes to assess how their clubs of various sizes are doing and the optimal size of clubs for the future. 

Many clubs reported that finding new people willing to serve in governance roles was a challenge. While it is clear from the data that enthusiastic, long-serving volunteers are the life-blood of many of the country’s sport clubs, new people and ideas are vital to protect against stagnation. 

With a majority of sport clubs losing money—or merely breaking even—and the future of grant/ trust funding uncertain, it is important to better understand commercial sponsorship as a viable alternative. 

Clubs across codes that are successful in generating sponsorship revenue tend to have a dedicated person or sub-committee as opposed to assigning the job to a single board member with another portfolio. 

Results also show that substantial club sponsorships are centered on the country’s most visible sports. For those at clubs with no sponsorship support there are lingering doubts about whether it’s important or even possible for community sport clubs to generate sponsorship revenue. 

There is a role for national and regional bodies to inform and upskill club leaders across all codes on how to be more “commercially savvy”. 

Andrew Miller said, “As a player, a father and coach of two players and a committee member for Wānaka Associated Football Club I do have the opinion that the lack of resources, in particular sports fields and lights, has massively impacted the growth and development of our sport for a number of years.”


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