After the disruption caused by COVID last year, hockey seasons are getting underway across Australia and players are returning in big numbers.

This is in part thanks to insights generated by the University of Sydney’s SPRINTER research group on Hockey Australia (HA) membership and survey data.

Led by Dr. Lindsey Reece, the team analysed thousands of survey responses from HA participants to develop a report. Key information centred around why participants play, or ultimately leave the sport.

Research by the SPRINTER Group enabled HA to tailor messages to three specified demographics that have shown to typically drop out of the sport in large numbers. These demographics are children, women balancing work and family life, and 18-25 year olds.

From these findings, coupled with the impact of COVID on sport, HA has released three targeted participation marketing campaigns to bring players back to hockey.

The campaigns are aimed at encouraging:
•    children to come and try hockey;
•    women to take time out from the daily grind;
•    18-25 year olds to stay engaged in a sport they love.

Video ads were produced as part of these campaigns and have proven extremely successful. The women’s ad in particular has had a reach of 252,052 people to date.

Early registration numbers for 2021 are tracking very positively, indicating that the messaging behind the campaigns is hitting its mark.

The SPRINTER Group report found that the top reasons people play hockey are:
1.    88% To have fun
2.    72% To get fit and healthy
3.    71% To socialise

These reasons of fun, fitness and friendships are consistent with previous years. Pleasingly, more than two thirds of players left hockey satisfied and are likely to return to the game in the future.
It is these lapsed members that HA is endeavouring to talk to and further understand their motivations through the new campaigns.

“We were thrilled to partner with SPRINTER Group to generate these quality insights into people’s motivations for playing, along with better understanding why people leave the sport,” said Hockey Australia GM – Growth, Legal & Strategy, Michael Johnston.

“Recognising the need to engage lapsed members, our marketing team did a brilliant job in developing campaigns based on the research insights.”

“This was supported by a promotional toolkit for use by our clubs and associations to help with localised efforts in encouraging people to get into hockey. This is a key initiative under our National Participation and Engagement Plan.”

“We saw the impact COVID had last year. Now we are seeing greater confidence of people getting back into things they enjoy, which includes playing hockey.”

The National Member Engagement Survey was overhauled in 2020 to align with Hockey NSW’s highly-regarded retention and churn analysis undertaken over the past few years.

This included using the revolutioniseSPORT system to connect with members, as well as forming the relationship with Sydney University’s SPRINTER Group.


This media release is from Hockey Australia.