In the land Down Under, sport is nothing less than a national obsession. Australians love sports so much that some of the most popular ‘Aussie’ games and sporting events have helped shape the country’s history and cultural identity!
Melbourne, the second most populous city in the country, is considered by many to be the sports capital of the world. With world-class stadiums, running tracks, tennis courts, and even a Formula 1 course located within miles of each other in the city, Australia hosts millions of fans and multiple international sporting events every year.
Even though there are so many sports being played in the country at all times, there are three that are followed almost religiously by most Australians, making them the most popular sports in the country. Let’s take a look!
Aussie Rules Football
While there is actually a tie between Australian Rules Football and Cricket as the most popular sport, we are mentioning it first because of two reasons. For starters, it is the most popular spectator sport with the highest television viewership and spectator count in the country.
Secondly, it is a game that is purely ‘Aussie’ with its own unique history, special rules and oval field (which, interestingly, is a modified cricket ground). Played between two teams of 18 players each, the sport involves moving an oval ball around the field with the purpose of scoring points by kicking it between goal posts.
Australian Football can trace its roots to early football matches in 1858, with the first laws being published in 1985 by the Melbourne Football Club. Today, the Australian Football League (AFL) not only serves as the sole governing body and professional competition for the game, it is also the wealthiest sporting body in the country.
Coming to the game Australians are most fanatical about, Cricket takes a center stage in the national sports obsession. With the first match being played in Sydney in 1803, Australians have been playing cricket since two centuries and their passion for it is only getting stronger.
According to www.cricketbettingtips.io, not only is Australia among the world’s ‘Big Three’ teams, more than 95% of Australians have watched or played cricket at least once in their lives. If that’s not convincing enough, in 2010, their Prime Minister stated that he had the second most important job in the country, after the cricket captain!
Arguably the most important matches are the Ashes series, a 138-year rivalry between England and Australia.
Finally, Rugby is the third most popular sport in Australia, with history going back to 1864. While it is traditionally played and most popular in New South Wales, Queensland and Sydney, it is a favourite across the country.
Domestically, Australia holds two major national championships – Super Rugby, and National Rugby Championship, as well as smaller regional competitions, all of which that draw major attention from spectators and on TV.
The Australian national rugby team, the Wallabies, have won two Rugby World Cups (1991, 1999) and are considered one of the top international teams, currently ranking as fifth in the world.