Sport and marriage equality
Research suggests sporting bodies can have a positive impact on social issues15 November 2017 | FT Editor
The head of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today announced the results of the national plebiscite into marriage equality with a resounding 61.6% of Australians voting in favour. Four-in-five (79.5%) of Australians voted in the plebiscite.
So what does this have to do with sport?
More than you might think actually. A survey by YouGov and Monash University reveals that almost three-quarters of millenials (born 1981-1999), who are considered 'superfans' of sport as measured by their engagement with it, believe that it was "the right thing to do" for sporting organisations such as FFA, the AFL, the NRL, ARU and Cricket Australia to support marriage equality.
This was despite criticism from some high profile sports commentators (though not in football).
While there was a generational divide, with 57% of baby boomers (born 1946-1964) thinking the opposite, the younger 'superfans' are sport's biggest consumers in terms of participation, attendance, membership and purchasing power.
Three-quarters of millennials say sporting organisations’ support of same-sex marriage helps keep Australian sport relevant to young people
More than six in ten of all respondents (62%) say that being strong advocates on social issues, including ending discrimination against gays and lesbians, will help Australian sports remain relevant with young people.
Amongst the sports and across all age groups, football (71%) and rugby (74%) fans are the most likely to agree it was correct for their sports to support same-sex marriage, and the AFL the least likely.
Monash University is investigating the effect when sporting organisations support social issues such as gay rights, gender equality or addressing gambling addiction.
Associate Professor Kerry O’Brien, Director of the Behavioural Science Laboratory says, “Given the cultural importance of sport to many Australians, sports and sport administrators can play an important part in addressing important social and health issues. This research shows the majority of Australians, particularly core sport fans, support the big sports taking a stance on social issues such as gay marriage, and they should be encouraged to lead in other areas as well.”