New report highlights socio-economic value of SA community football

November 8, 2022

By SANFL Media

A SANFL commissioned report has revealed the significant economic contribution and social benefits delivered by South Australia’s community football clubs.

The SANFL Community Club Socio-Economic Contributions study found that SA’s metropolitan community football clubs generate an average $1.73 million a year in economic activity with $1.1 million directly attributable to club running costs, spectator and member investment and player participation.

Regional centre* and small-town football clubs contribute an average $1.127 million and $838,000 respectively into the economy, according to the report.

It also found that metropolitan clubs support an average 7.5 full time equivalent (FTE) positions, while an average 3 FTE jobs are supported in regional centre football clubs.

The study by sports consultancy firm Street Ryan also estimated that participation in football clubs by players, volunteers and active members delivered up to $18,220 in annual health benefits by helping to prevent chronic diseases – such as heart disease and diabetes – and mental illness.

For a participant at a metropolitan football club, this would equate to health benefits of more than $450,000 over 25 years.

Participation in football as a player, volunteer or active member provides an important outlet for physical and mental relaxation and contributes to social inclusion,” the report says.

Sport and recreation has generally been a growth industry, in employment terms, for at least two decades and employment in Australian football has been among the most significant contributors to this growth.”

Key Findings

  • Community clubs contribute up to $1.73 million per year in economic activity
  • Clubs support up to 7 Full Time Equivalent jobs
  • Help to prevent chronic diseases and mental illness


The report’s findings were shaped through interviews with, and data and annual reports from, community clubs.

SANFL chief executive officer Darren Chandler said the study helped to quantify what many already know – that community football clubs are good for the economy and our health and wellbeing.

“Community football clubs represent more than just a place to play and watch a footy match, but rather are a place to gather, celebrate occasions, catch-up with friends and socialise,” he said.

“For country and regional towns in particular, football clubs are the heartbeat of the community and have a powerful role to play in driving economic activity and improving health outcomes.

“Football clubs also the ideal place to promote mental health and wellbeing and start the mental health conversation to support players, volunteers, officials and wider community.

“Overall, the report has reinforced the value of investing in grassroots football to ensure a thriving and viable competition which has broader impact beyond the football field.”

The SANFL is responsible for 26 Community Football Leagues and 272 clubs throughout regional and metro South Australia with more than 50,000 players, administrators and volunteers.

The report found that women now make up more than 20% of all active players across the metro, regional centre and small-town clubs.

It also found that all clubs generated the majority of their income through their bar and social functions but that small town clubs relied on sponsorship more than their larger metropolitan and regional counterparts.

The full SANFL Community Club Socio-Economic Contributions report can be viewed below.

It follows a similar report on SANFL Clubs undertaken in 2021 which found that each of the eight State League Clubs provide an economic contribution of $9.9 million annually and more than $36,000 in an annual physical and mental health benefits.

Sign up to receive the latest SANFL news straight to your inbox.