Which code has progressed most this century?

Midfielder Roar Rookie

By Midfielder, Midfielder is a Roar Rookie

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    I got up this morning and made a pot of tea. After drinking the tea and drying out and scattering the leaves on the dining room table, I read the leaves.

    This is my reading of the tea leaves about which code this century has grown the most this century.

    The stand out winner is eSports, from almost unheard of to filling out stadiums and huge online viewership.

    Of the more traditional sports, football is the easy winner. At the start of the century football had the oldest national competition, but had crowds averaging under 4, 000 9take out Perth Glory and 3,000 would be lucky). Little media coveerage and what media there was incredibly negative, the national body could not afford to bring out the Socceroos and the code was heading into bankruptcy.

    Today we have a ten team national league, two more sides joining soon, a second division starting in 2020 and 15 teams wanting to join the A-League, not forgetting the FFA Cup and the success of the national teams.

    As a special, I have attached a link to a recent ABC podcast from the late 90s which gave a reasonable look at football at the time.

    Netball is a challenge to football and I could see some say it has had the biggest growth, from almost nothing to a national competition with an FTA broadcast contract on 9.

    Cricket since 2000 has had a fall in interest at the Test level and ODIs made massive gains with Twenty20 cricket. Recently signed media deals with Fox and Channel 7 will keep cricket popular simply by media exposure. Additionally, the rise of India as a world power will help power cricket, especially newer versions.

    Rugby league, or the NRL are arguably the comeback kings. In the late 80s and early 90s the then ARL had grown to 21 teams with further expansion in the wings. At this time the highest rating code and under the stewardship of John Quale and Ken Aurtherson. In the mid 90s a media war between Kerry Packer and Rupert Murdoch tore the game apart.

    Honestly, it’s a tribute to those running the game it did not fall apart. David Gallop was brought in and started a recovery process. Gallop made a name for himself in not only holding the game together, but managing to ensure TV deals and rebuild ratings.

    Since 2000 the NRL has introduced Test matches against Pacific Island Nations. However, it’s difficult to see rugby league recovering to anywhere near the position it held in the early 90s.

    I can’t see rugby league in its homeland states holding off competition forever and can see the expansion of football to challenge rugby league, especially in Sydney.

    Rugby union is by far the biggest loser with crowds and rating in the gutter, from the best ratings per match on Fox and crowds averaging over 25K per match as a code its been losing market share and looks to be in a terminal decline.

    AFL peaked around 2008 to 2012. AFL is what marketers call in the mature phase of the product cycle in its southern states heartland. Marketers would say its difficult maybe near impossible to hold existing market shares in the southern states.

    The competition from football, league, maybe union will make take market share in the southern states.

    Thus, there is a need for growth in the Northern States. However, without a Super League war and corrupt, inept and bankrupt football, there is no free kick and GWS and the Gold Coast are struggling. Thus, the need to bring in women’s AFL, and a newer version of the game.

    In closing, this has been about only growth this century, not the relative overall strengths or otherwise of the various codes.

    To answer the question posed in the headline, here they are in order: eSports, football, netball, cricket, rugby league, AFL and rugby union.

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • July 8th 2018 @ 8:49am
      MQ said | July 8th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

      Further evidence of football’s continuing strong growth is the FFA’s latest annual report for 2017, showing growth in operating revenue of $3.1 million to $106.6 million.

      We know there will be further growth in that operating revenue for the financial year just completed with broadcast revenue set to jump from $40 million to $57 million.

      The other big ticket item is sponsorship revenue which stayed relatively stable across the two financial years at around $26 million.

      Bit by bit, football is chipping away at the major codes. This is evident in the growth rates. The FFA reported a 3% increase in revenue from 2016 to 2017, whereas the AFL was only able to report a 2% increase in revenue from 2015 to 2016.

      With that sort of disparity in growth rates, you can see football catching up to the AFL by the end of this century.

    • July 8th 2018 @ 9:38am
      Gyfox said | July 8th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

      This year the AFL is heading for a total club membership of 1 million, with Richmond passing 100,000. When the other codes match that we can talk!

      • July 8th 2018 @ 11:16am
        MQ said | July 8th 2018 @ 11:16am | ! Report

        Yeh, but what’s the true number after you take out pet and baby memberships? Probably closer to 90,000.

    • Roar Guru

      July 9th 2018 @ 8:23am
      Matt H said | July 9th 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      As opposed to the different codes, I believe the greatest growth has been in women’s sport across all codes. Matildas, netball, WBBL, AFLW, Rugby 7’s, state of origin. This has been the period where women’s sport has hit the back pages.

      • July 9th 2018 @ 2:37pm
        MQ said | July 9th 2018 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

        MH
        Very true, we should certainly be celebrating the growth of professional women’s sport across all the codes.

        Ironically, the one spot where this article was placed, is probably the most male dominated of all.

    • July 9th 2018 @ 8:43am
      c said | July 9th 2018 @ 8:43am | ! Report

      This article will receive more posts if it is inserted in one of the more traditional sporting tabs here instead of the other sports tab

      • July 9th 2018 @ 2:39pm
        MQ said | July 9th 2018 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

        A bit of a strange spot.

        Given the author is known to be a big football fan (and generally writes these article to give a pro-football slant) it probably would have sat more comfortably in the football tab.

        • July 9th 2018 @ 4:10pm
          c said | July 9th 2018 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

          sure alternatively afl tab will generate hits

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