Sport is important internationally; but in Australia, it is part of the national identity. The enjoyment of public open space for sport is, therefore, an assumed community right. We interviewed key staff from inner Sydney councils about management issues associated with public open space. The greatest concern was sporting fields – formal and informal – which were considered to have exceeded carrying capacity mainly because of the unintended outcomes of government programmes/policies spanning; (1) ‘healthy lifestyles’ which increased public open space use; (2) ‘urban consolidation’ increased inner-city population density with associated increased usage and loss of open space; (3) ‘temporal water restriction’ during drought (not ‘water budgets’) which intensify management issues; and (4) ‘building the education revolution’, meaning that public open space lost from schools results in increased pressure on public open space. Consequences have increased human pressure on public open space without commensurate consideration for the management and/or expansion of these areas.