Sport in Tasmania
Sport in Tasmania describes participation in and attendance at organised sports events in the state of Tasmania in Australia. Sport is an important part of Tasmanian culture; though,1 while spectator sports have grown in recent decades, overall participation in sports has declined2 and is currently lower than the national average.3
The most popular spectator sports are Cricket (summer) and Australian rules football (winter). Both sports have very long histories in the state and important roles in the culture and are widely covered by the media. In participation Tasmania's most popular sport for men is Association football (known locally as "soccer") and for women is swimming.4 The fastest growing sport in terms of participation in the state is junior and women's soccer.5
There are significant regional differences and regional rivalries, particularly between the north and south of the state which have an effect on the sport participation and attendances.
Hobart is home to the annual Briggs Track Classic at the Domain Athletic Centre as part of the national Australian Athletics Tour. Other areas also hold annual events called 'Gifts' such as the Burnie Gift.
Tasmania has previously hosted teams in the highest tears of Basketball in Australia however currently has no teams participating in the highest leagues. The Hobart Devils existed in the National Basketball League from 1983 to 1996. Launceston also had a team in the NBL from 1980 - 1982 called Launceston City Casino.
In the Women's National Basketball League (WNBL), the Hobart Islanders won the national competition in 1991. The team was led by home-grown and three-time WNBL Most Valuable Player, Kathy Foster. The Islanders withdrew from the competition in the mid-1990s.6
Netball is popular in Tasmania, although Tasmania doesn't have a team in the ANZ Championship.
Cricket is the most popular game in Tasmania. Cricket Tasmania administers the Tasmanian Grade Cricket competitions of cricket in Tasmania, and selects the players for the Tasmanian Tigers, who are the state's first class cricket team for men. They are also responsible for the selection of players for Tasmanian Roar, the state's women's representative side. The Tasmanian Tigers are based at Bellerive Oval and represent the state in domestic competitions such as the Ford Ranger One Day Cup, the Pura Cup, and formerly in the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash. As of 2011 the Hobart Hurricanes represent Tasmania in the Big Bash League. At present the Tasmanian Roar only compete in the Women's National Cricket League Twenty20 competition. Bellerive Oval also hosts international matches (Tests and One Day matches) of the Australian cricket team and touring sides.
The Football Federation Tasmania is the governing body for associational football (soccer) in Tasmania. The equal highest levels of competition are the Southern Premier League and the Northern Premier League which compete in a playoff match at the end of each season to decide the Tasmanian Champion.
Tasmania was the first place outside of Victoria to play Australian football, playing Victorian Rules since 1864. Tasmania has competed strongly in Interstate matches in Australian rules football since its first colonial match in 1884, forming a strong rival with traditional powerhouse Victoria, however played its last competitive match in the 1990 State of Origin series which resulted a victory over Victoria in Hobart.
In 2005, Tasmania's participation rate in Australian Rules for men between 5 – 39 years was 22%, the highest in Australia.9
The main leagues now are the statewide Tasmanian Football League (which has existed on and off since 1879) and its conferences, the Southern Football League and the Northern Tasmanian Football League. A representative club, the Tasmanian Devils participated in the Victorian Football League between 2001–2008 and attracted attendances of over 10,000 on two occasions.
There is no Tasmanian team in a national competition, the Australian Football League, however a Tasmanian AFL Bid has been ongoing. The Hawthorn Hawks have a deal with the Tasmanian government to play AFL home games at Aurora Stadium in Launceston. As a result of the commercial arrangement, the team have been branded the Tassie Hawks. Hawthorn has been involved in record crowds of over 20,000 people at the stadium. The North Melbourne Football Club has confirmed that it will play two games per year in Hobart at Bellerive Oval starting from 2012.10
The Tasmanian Gaelic Football and Hurling Association run weekly training sessions and games in summer in Hobart to avoid competing with major winter sports.
The Tasmanian Rugby League reestablished a summer competition in 2009.
The Tasmanian Rugby Union11 Statewide League consists of 10 Teams and was first established in 1933. The senior men's state representative side for the Tasmanian Rugby Union is the Tasmanian Jack Jumpers.
Rugby Union in Tasmania consists of the following divisions : Mens, Women's, Junior Under 18, Junior Under 16, Juniors Under 14.
Tasmania has numerous golf courses spread throughout the island. The town of Bridport in the northeast is home to Barnbougle Dunes, a public golf course designed by architect Tom Doak which opened in 2004 and is ranked among the top 100 courses in the world.12
There are a number of thoroughbred and harness race courses in Tasmania including the Elwick Race Course and Launceston Racecourse in Mowbray which host the Hobart Cup and Launceston Cup respectively.
Tasmania hosts a round of the V8 Supercars championship each year at Symmons Plains Raceway, in the Northern Midlands of the state, although the Tasmanian Government has not promised to fund the event past 2011 which may lead to the event being withdrawn.14 Symonds Plains also hosts the YMF Loans Australian Superbike Championship, Australian Formula 3 Championship and the CAMS Nationals. The Australian Grand Prix was twice held in Tasmania, at the Longford Circuit, in 1959, and 1965.
Swimming Tasmania is the governing body for swimming in Tasmania. The Hobart Aquatic Centre has hosted significant championships including the Australian Swimming Championships. Other significant aquatic facilities include: Clarence Aquatic Centre and Launceston Aquatic.
There are a number of active water ski clubs in Tasmania. These include Meadowbank Water Ski Club, Northern Aquatic Club, Roseberry Ski Club, Kentish Aquatic Club and the Horsehead Water Ski Club.
The most southerly ski fields in Australia are located in Tasmania. Much of the State is subject to at least occasional winter snows. Mount Ossa is the highest point on the island at 1614m but Tasmania has eight mountains exceeding 1500m and 28 above 1,220m. Also notable is the Central Plateau, at an elevation of around 900m. The capital city of Hobart is built at the base of Mount Wellington, which at 1270m is snow capped in winter.15
Tasmania's premier Alpine skiing operations are located at Ben Lomond 60 km from Launceston.16 The village is at 1460m and the top elevation is 1570m.17 Limited downhill ski operations also exist in the Mount Field National Park at Mount Mawson, which is approximately 89 kilometres north west of Hobart and rises from 1200m to 1320m altitude.18
One of Australia's most scenic alpine locations is located in Tasmania at Cradle Mountain, where cross country skiing is possible. Cradle Mountain is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, inscribed by UNESCO in 1982.19
Tasmania hosts the Moorilla International tennis tournament as part of the lead-up to the Australian Open. The tournament is a professional tournament involving women's singles and doubles competitions played at the Hobart International Tennis Centre on the Domain in Hobart.
The Hobart Real Tennis Club is one of the oldest sporting clubs in the Southern hemisphere, having been founded in 1875. The court is located at 45 Davey Street, Hobart, Tasmania. It is the oldest real tennis club in Australia and one of the oldest existing clubs in the real tennis world.
The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race has taken place between Boxing Day and New Year every year since 1945. The race finishes at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania in Hobart. Another popular annual race is the Australian Three Peaks Race.
- University of Tasmania. Tasmanian History: Basketball. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
- "Victory, United share spoils in cup opener". A-League. 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
- "Tasmania wants A-League bid". FourFourTwo. 2007-11-27. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
- Tasmanian football participation reaches record level
- Stubbs, B., Herald Sun, "North Melbourne seals Tassie deal", 20 December 2010, Retrieved 15 January 2011.
- AusGolf - World’s Top 100 Golf Courses
- "Pressure revs up over Tas Supercars' future". Retrieved 24JUN2011.