Sport is a national passion in Australia. Whether it’s hitting a tennis ball with pals on neighbourhood courts or competing in organised football, the majority of Australians participate in sport in some capacity. That is why identifying the popular sports in Australia is so tough.
How would you define ‘popularity’? For some, simply participating in sport at any level suffices, whilst for others, it’s all about registered player numbers. Attendance counts, cash generation, and peak athlete performance on the global stage are all equally significant to many. Let’s get into the article to know the most popular sports in Australia.
Popular Sports in Australia
Over 1.08 million Australians participate in basketball, a figure inflated by the large number of children. Around 30.5 percent of all children participate in basketball, no likely motivated by the success of Australian players in the NBA.
Basketball reached its zenith in the 1990’s, when crowd attendance and television ratings reached all-time highs. Nonetheless, the sport struggled during the 2000’s, as teams came and went and money created big issues for everyone involved. However, the sport has experienced a renaissance in recent years, with attendance and television ratings increasing.
Tennis is another one of the most popular sports in Australia. Over 960,000 people play tennis recreationally or in organised competitions, with children and adults roughly split in half.
Since the late 1870’s, tennis has been a significant element of the Australian athletic landscape. The Australian Open began in Melbourne in 1905 and has remained a staple of the Grand Slam competitions ever since. Australians have thrived at Grand Slam competitions, particularly the Australian Open, since Normal Brookes won Wimbledon in 1907.
Additionally, Australia is the second most successful Davis Cup nation in history. With 28 victories, Australia is second only to the United States, which has 32. Australia’s last triumph in this illustrious tournament came in 2003.
Since the tournament’s inception in 1963, Australia has won the Fed Cup seven times. However, the last victory in 1974 occurred during a period of decline in the women’s game. Wimbledon was won by Evonne Goolagong in 1980, followed by a lengthy hiatus until Sam Stosur won the US Open in 2011.
Australia’s international tennis success has resulted in an enormous number of household names. Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Margaret Court, Roy Emerson, and Leyton Hewitt are among the most well-known of these. Recently, we’ve seen a renaissance in the ascension of Australian players in the international rankings.
Netball has been the most popular sport for women of all ages in Australia since it was introduced in 1897. Today, 846,000 Australians participate in netball, with 503,000 being youngsters (20.5 percent) and 343,000 being adults (1.8 percent).
The Diamonds Australian team has been a dominant force on the world level. Since 1963, when they won the first world championships, the Diamonds have won ten tournaments out of fourteen. This excludes the 1979 event, in which three teams, including Australia, tied for first place. Australia has finished second in the other years.
Liz Ellis, Sharelle McMahon, Catherine Cox, Natalie Medhurst, and Vicki Wilson are some of Australia’s most notable netballers.
Rugby Union is among the most popular sports in Australia, with an average of 18,818 spectators per game. It is one of the world’s Rugby codes, having originated in nineteenth-century England. Rugby Union was first introduced to Australia in 1864, with the establishment of the club by Sydney University. In 1874, the first rugby union organisation of Australia (the Southern Rugby Union) was created. The first Rugby Union games in Australia were played in Queensland in 1876.
The diversity of Australian sports creates an environment brimming with young talent who are passionate and determined to reach the summit of their chosen careers.
Apart from professional sports, many people in Australia participate in sports for enjoyment and health reasons. These sports are among them and are regarded as the most popular sports in Australia.