Participatory culture, which is the opposite concept of consumer culture, is not only limited to the arts and media industries. Sports are also a big enabler of this concept. In Australia, participation is a bigger market force than spectatorship, in that the barrier between being an athlete and spectator is almost imaginary.
Participatory Culture in Sports
While few get to be successful, record-breaking athletes, many are happy just being spectators. In the past, there was a clear social and economic divide between athletes and spectators, regardless of whether one wouldn’t have existed without the other.
While participatory culture emerged from spectator culture, it takes a different form. With people, businesses and things now even more connected than ever, barriers collapse and new subcultures emerge. Sports fans take to social media to spread media content, show support or criticise professional athletes.
Fantasy sport allows ordinary individuals to participate and immerse themselves virtually and play the imaginary role of their favourite athlete. The gamer’s performance will rely heavily on the virtual athlete’s statistical performance that’s based on the actual one. Fantasy sport is somewhat an extension of sports leagues.
Sports Participation in Australia
The sporting landscape in Australia is also so diverse and widespread that it plays a major role in building the national identity. It inspires many aspects of life and in the words of Kevin Rudd, is a universal language. Because Australia is a nation of players and enthusiasts, its sports and recreation and sports media sectors face big challenges every year.
Cricket alone has a total participation rate of over 1.2 million people. Amateur players can compete in formal and organised cricket tournaments throughout the year. On top of being the biggest participant sport, reports show that 59% of the Australian public have an interest in cricket.
Another popular sport in the country is football, which in 2011 had over 1.5 million participants and a 14.6% participation rate. It is also popular among indigenous groups. As a matter of fact, sports journalist Paul Sheehan notes that two of the football codes play in the country, the Australian Football League and rugby league, are built on deep tribal roots.
Sports have the capacity to influence culture and form traditions of their own, but they are a tradition that will die down without participants and enthusiasts. Through social media and a host of things, people now have more courage and the resources to go beyond just being spectators or consumers.
If you want to learn more about sports participation in Australia or immerse in the nation’s most exciting sporting events, get tickets for the best seats today. Get in touch with us.