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1 in 8 domestic travellers to Melbourne attends a live sporting match or race

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2013 – December 2014 n=22,416 Australians 14+ who went on a holiday in the last 12 months.

Nationally, nearly 1 in 20 Australian domestic travellers (4.5%) attended a sporting event on their most recent holiday—but those visiting Melbourne were almost three times as likely to take in a match or race, the latest data from Roy Morgan Research shows. 

Over the past two years, 1 in 8 domestic travellers to Melbourne (12.8%) attended at least one spectator sporting event, from a football, rugby or cricket match (7.5%) to another event such as tennis or golf (2.7%), horseracing (1.9%) or motor racing (1.1%). 

Adelaide takes second spot on the dais with around 1 in 12 of its domestic visitors since 2013 going to sports events (8.5%), ahead of Darwin (6.7%), Sydney (6.5%) and Perth (6.2%). Around 1 in 5 domestic travellers to Hobart (5.1%) or Brisbane (4.9%) over the last two years saw live sports, ahead of only 4.5% of visitors to Canberra.  

Proportion of domestic holiday visitors to destination who attended live sports

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2013 – December 2014 n=22,416 Australians 14+ who went on a holiday in the last 12 months.

But sports aren’t the only things these travellers are interested in. Our research shows that, as city councils and state governments like to say, there are indeed broader economic benefits to sports tourism, with visitors who see matches and races also more likely to engage in a wide range of other activities during their trips.

Compared with the average holiday-maker, sports tourists are:

  • Over three times more likely to visit a casino
  • Around twice as likely to go to the theatre or cinema
  • 76% more likely to go to night clubs or bars
  • 66% more likely to go to a concert
  • 42% more likely to go shopping
  • 24% more likely to go to museums

Angela Smith, Group Account Director - Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“This latest data shows that Melbourne is the clear sports capital of Australia for domestic travellers.   

“Over the last two years, Roy Morgan Research has interviewed over 22,000 recent holiday-makers about where they went, who with and for how long, how they got there, where they stayed, the activities they did, how much they spent, and their attitudes to travel.

“Our Helix Personas segmentation tool pinpoints some specific types of people—covering a wide range of age, income and lifestyles—who are more likely to see live sport on holidays: from established rural landowners in Full House (112) to inner-city Cultural Pioneers (208), comfortably suburban Career and Kids (302) to Penny Wise battlers (701), younger households Making Ends Meet (503) to retired Country Conservatives (606).    

But while sporting tourism clearly appeals to wide variety of people, each persona has a preference for different sports events and other activities on their trips—and destination marketers would do well to understand these differences.”

To learn more about how to identify, understand and reach sports tourists, please contact: 

Vaishali Nagaratnam
Telephone: +61 (3) 9224 5309

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%