Fear growing Auckland sports clubs could see dwindling numbers in post-COVID-19 era

There are growing concerns for Auckland sports clubs this summer, with uncertainty around the fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, causing playing numbers to take a hit.

And there are now fears it'll have an impact beyond this season.

If current registration numbers are anything to go by, there could be a lot of empty cricket grounds this summer.

"Anecdotally, talking to the clubs, anywhere between, on par to 20 percent down on last year's," says Dean Bartlett, general manager, community for Auckland Cricket.

With the City of Sails locked down due to COVID-19, Auckland Cricket's worried players' wait and see stance this season could end up having a massive impact on the next generation.

"Where they're seeing a decrease, or a lapse in registration, or hesitancy in registration thus far, is in junior grades. 

"So the younger you are, the more hesitant you are to sign up to cricket.

Though clubs are trying to offer alternatives.

"They're working out ways now to alleviate any hesitations for the potential member to register. So some clubs are saying register now, don't pay anything, and then we'll pro-rata your membership based on how many games are remaining.

Tennis is also in the same precarious position, although it does have the advantage it can be played under alert level 3.

The evidence we've got off some clubs at the moment, is that some are seeing a delay in their memberships," says general manager tennis and facilities Auckland's David Frank.

"They haven't said people aren't going to join, they just haven't joined yet."

But financially, Tennis Auckland isn't as fortunate as Auckland Cricket, who are part of a top-down model from NZC.

"The funding side for clubs is going to be tough, without doubt," Frank says.

"The community funding side, the dollars, the grants that they usually go after, have dried up."

The Tāmaki  Makaurau Sector Support  Fund has been set up to support organisations in Auckland, with applicants to be awarded up to $25,000.

Regardless, both Auckland Cricket and Tennis Auckland believe the message is clear - get vaccinated, get registered.