Tennis, cycling and socio-economic advantage

Wed 01 Jul

This week sees two of the world’s most prestigious sporting events kick off: the grande dame of tennis Grand Slams, Wimbledon; and the big daddy of road bicycle races, the Tour de France. With live broadcasts of both events lasting well into the night, there will no doubt be plenty of sleepy sports fans in the coming few weeks  – many of them from the wealthier end of the socio-economic spectrum, as the latest data from Roy Morgan Research reveals…

Some 6.8 million Australians aged 14+ watch tennis on TV almost always or occasionally — and one quarter of them are from the affluent AB socio-economic quintile*.  Twenty percent of TV tennis viewers are from the C quintile, 20% from the D quintile, while the least well-off E and FG quintiles account for 18% respectively. (As their name suggests, each quintile comprises 20% of the total population, so 18% is below average and 25% is above average)

Of the 3.8 million Aussies who tune in for cycling on TV, 28% are from the AB quintile: again, a noticeably higher proportion than those from the lower quintiles, as the chart below shows.

Australia’s tennis and cycling viewers: a socio-economic breakdown

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014 – March 2015 (n=15,913). Base: Australians 14+

Tennis and cycling participation under the socio-economic spotlight

The disparity between the socio-economic quintiles is even more striking when we look at participation in these sports. 

No less than one third of Australia’s 1.7 million tennis-players belong to the AB socio-economic quintile, a much higher proportion than those from the C quintile (21%), D quintile (19%), E quintile (16%) and FG quintile (11%).

It’s a similar scenario with the 3.7 million Aussies who cycle, 30% of whom are from the AB quintile, compared with 23% from the C quintile, 19% from the D quintile, 17% from the E quintile and just 11% from the FG quintile.

Australia’s tennis and cycling participants: a socio-economic breakdown

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014 – March 2015 (n=15,913). Base: Australians 14+

Hugh Amoyal, Deputy CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The latest sporting data from Roy Morgan Research shows that participation in tennis and cycling appears to be related to a person’s socio-economic situation, with Australians from the most affluent AB quintile being the most likely to engage in these sports, while those from the disadvantaged FG quintile are the least likely.

As we reported recently, the proportion of Australians participating in and watching cycling has skyrocketed over the past decade. This growth is evident across all socio-economic quintiles, with the AB quintile showing the largest increase for both participation and TV viewing and FG the slightest. Over the same period, tennis participation has increased among the AB quintile only, while viewing has increased marginally among people from the AB and D quintiles and declined among the others.

 “In any case, sponsors of major tennis and cycling events — such as Wimbledon and the Tour de France — that are broadcast on TV will be pleased to receive confirmation that their brand is being exposed to a lucrative market, since people from the AB quintile are also more likely to watch these sports on television than those from lower socio-economic quintiles. Obviously, brands that advertise during these broadcasts also stand to benefit.”