Not all fun and games: backyard sports cause of conflict or connection this summer

6 December 2022
  • As summer approaches, new research from Allianz Australia reveals 71 per cent of Australians are keen to celebrate with the ritual of backyard sports.
  • Yet it’s not all fun and games, with 1 in 5 admitting to a falling-out with a friend or family member and a quarter of Australians worried that their home will get damaged during the backyard sports season. 
  • To help Aussies get Backyard Sports Ready, Allianz has partnered with Australian sporting icon Mat Rogers to provide his tips and tricks on how to avoid any quarrels, accidents or mishaps this year.

After two years of closed state borders and holiday upheaval, Australians are looking forward to the upcoming summer holidays more than ever. New research reveals that over 17 million Australians are preparing to celebrate their first restriction-free festive season with the iconic tradition of backyard sport.1

The new research by Allianz Australia reveals that while Australians didn’t find the past 12 months to be as tough and challenging as the year prior,2 it still felt like a rollercoaster (39 per cent) and was filled with constant change (28 per cent) – and for many, backyard sport is the answer.  

For more than half of Australians (54 per cent) backyard sport is one of their favourite things to do in summer and makes them feel closer together as a family (62 per cent) and more connected after years of lockdowns (21 per cent).

Backyard sports can consist of any type of sport. Whether it is a game of cricket (49 per cent), NRL or touch footy (13 per cent), a sport we’ve invented ourselves (29 per cent) or even an indoor sport if it’s bad weather (17 per cent), sports are the way to our nation’s heart the summer months, with Australians turning their backyards into their sports stadiums. 

These holidays, Allianz Australia has partnered with an Aussie sporting icon, Mat Rogers, to call on Australians to make the most of their time together and get ready for the best backyard sport season yet, with tips and tricks on how to get prepared for entertaining and any accidents that may occur.  

Mat says, “I’ve played two different sporting codes in stadiums around the world, and nothing is more sacred than the backyard sports stadium. Spending time together with family and friends after a rough few years is so important to help us reset and reconnect. Nothing brings my family together like a game of backyard cricket or footy, and by having the pitch set up in the right direction to avoid any breakages, the littlest kids out of harm’s way, and snacks and hydration at the ready, we’re prepared to have the most fun this summer.” 

However, it’s not all fun and games, with the research showing even friendships are at stake during backyard sports. 1 in 5 (18 per cent) Australians admit to having had a falling-out with a friend or family member over a backyard sport, with the tension most often caused by people making up or changing the rules (69 per cent), what positions people play (31 per cent) and if there’s any damage to the property (20 per cent).

Backyard sports is also a cause of worry amongst Australians (24 per cent). A quarter (24 per cent) of Australians revealed they have had a mishap in the past causing damage to their home, with damages on average costing $100-$250 (34 per cent). In line with Australians returning to larger gatherings and backyard sports this summer, Allianz claims data shows that Accidental Damage claims have increased by 24% since pre-pandemic times.3 According to the research, the most common damage as a result of backyard sports is broken windows (60 per cent) and fences (19 per cent), with the neighbour’s property also being susceptible to accidents during the game (19 per cent). 

David Parsons, General Manager of Direct at Allianz Australia said, “Damage to your home or its contents can be a stressful experience, especially when you are trying to enjoy the summer by playing backyard sports with family or friends. Yet our research shows that many Australians aren’t covered for the accidental mishaps that can happen in the home. At Allianz, we want to make sure all Australians are Backyard Sports Ready this season, so we’re encouraging Aussies to conduct a Policy Health Check – a simple call to understand what is and isn’t covered under their existing policy – before the all-important games begin.”

Don’t kick off or take the first wicket these summer holidays without ensuring you’re Backyard Sports Ready. 

  • Check your angles: When setting up your goal or wickets, think the game through to avoid accidents or mishaps. You’ll want to check your windows aren’t in the line of fire or even worse, your neighbours’. Same goes with other parts of your property that may be subject to damage, or fragile items that may be in the way.
  • Gear up: With the extreme weather we’ve had, things like kneepads and inflatables that have been exposed to the elements could be mouldy, so give them a once over before deciding to use them. 
  • Ready rain or shine: Of course, extra hats, sunnies and sunscreen are a must, but throw in some rain gear too in case the weather turns. If it does get muddy, set up a cleaning station outside to wipe everything down, before someone treads all over the carpet or trips on the tiles. Keep your favourite boardgames on hand if you have to pause the game and wait out the rain.
  • Sort out crowd control: Small people need protection from flying balls or bats, so set up an area where they can be part of the fun safely.
  • Provide hydration and energy: A team wins or loses on its stomach. Prepare some snacks in between games, such as orange slices. Hydration is also vital, so keep plenty of water around.
  • Prepare your mascot: Last but not least, ensure your team mascot is ready for game time! 
  • Do an insurance policy health check: Before you kick off or take the first wicket, check what is and isn’t covered as part of your Home Building and Contents Insurance. You may also consider taking out Accidental Damage Cover to cover your home for sudden, unforeseen and unintended events. 
  • Fix any damages at the first sign of an issue: To prevent more severe issues and keep your home well-maintained, address any minor damage to your home or its contents, such as a rotting fence or chipped glass, as soon as possible. 
  • Make a claim: If your home or its contents are damaged, and they’re covered under your insurance policy, make sure you make a claim. 
  1. The majority of Australians (71 per cent) play backyard sports over summer and the holiday period.
  2. 48 per cent in 2021 vs 41 per cent in 2022.
  4. Accidental Damage claims from Home and Contents Insurance increased 24% from April 2019 - March 2020 to April 2021 - March 2022.
The research was conducted by Pureprofile via an online survey conducted between 25 October and 27 October 2022. The sample comprised a nationally representative sample of 1,005 Australians aged 18 years and over. The data is weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.
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