Australian cricket could be missing out on $17 million in grassroots fundraising a year, the Australian Sports Foundation says.
The foundation says cricket is failing to raise as much money through donations as other major sports.
Cricket doesn’t tap into its community enough to ask for funding, says Patrick Walker, chief executive of the foundation, the body which oversees tax deductions for donations to sports projects.
In 2016/17, some $44.75 million was raised via donations for sports.
Australian Rules clubs were best-performed, raising $20m, or about $31.40 per participant.
Cricket raised only $530,000, or $0.94 per participant.
“They don’t go out and fundraise,” Walker told AAP.
“Other sports have latched on to this in increasing ways and cricket so far hasn’t, but there is a real upside there for them.”
The term grassroots funding has echoed through cricket’s pay dispute but Walker said sports largely had to fend for themselves.
“If you look at the central part, they have clearly got a need at grassroots level to raise funds to improve cricket facilities,” he said.
“That is at the heart of the discussion.
“(People) will donate in support of those projects if they are given the right proposition and the right campaign to help engage them.
“We see no reason why that can’t work effectively in cricket as it does in any other sport.”
Australian Rules led the fundraising by tapping into its rusted-on support, he said.
“It cultivates communities, its members, its players, its past players,” Walker said.
“And it isn’t afraid to ask them to contribute to putting new floodlights on an oval, or reviving a pitch, or building new changing rooms for women to play the game.”
Walker said donations to sport lagged eight times behind the arts.
“We think sport is at least as important to the average Australian as the arts and culture is,” he said.