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What is the top sport in Australia?

Australian fans had plenty to celebrate in Stuttgart back in 2006. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
Roar Pro
3rd January, 2019
6514 Reads

Here it is, the inaugural Australian Sports Rankings for 2019.

While it’s never been attempted before (from what I can see), I’ll give it my best shot at picking and analysing each sport’s spot in the list as well as perhaps continuing it on for future years.

I will take the top 20 major sports in the country, ranking the top fifteen, leaving the remaining five unranked.

After naming these five (in alphabetical order), I will count down to the best ranked sport. This list is judged by the sport’s success and support in Australia only – for instance football’s support isn’t judged upon the Premier League’s viewership in the country as the league isn’t based in Australia.

Here are my picks.

Hockey (ice and field)
Ironman (triathlon)

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Top 15

15) Baseball
The ABL is quickly growing in quality, crowd numbers and support however not enough to place it higher up the list.

14) Cycling
Cycling is well attended for tours around the country and is a very common recreational sport.

13) Boxing
Whenever there’s a fight on, there’s a good chance lots will know about it.

12) Motorsport
Very popular and has a good, long history in the country.

Craig Lowndes gives a thumbs up

Craig Lowndes finished on a high. (AAP Image/Mark Horsburgh)


11) Golf
Similarly, to cycling, fairly well attended and also a popular recreational sport.

10) Netball
I believe there will be a stage where netball becomes more popular than rugby union in Australia. However, I don’t believe that’s happened just yet.

9) Basketball
Youth development and support thriving and so is the sport.

8) Rugby union
You might be shocked at this ranking but I believe rugby is on the way out in Australia. Popularity, crowd numbers and support are down. Hardly anyone cares about the Super Rugby competition.

7) Swimming
Youth development, support, popularity – all is going well for swimming.

6) Horse-racing
Always been a popular sport here, strengthened by the fact that meetings occur every week.

Melbourne Cup finishing post

Horses pass the post during the Melbourne Cup at Flemington. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Top five


5) Tennis
Tennis competitions are well followed and attended. Very popular for recreation as well as among all children.

4) Football
The most popular sport for children by along way and the A-League and W-League are growing faster than ever before.

3) Rugby league
Strong youth development with touch, Oz Tag, and rugby league available to both girls and boys. The NRL has great support especially around NSW and QLD, however crowd numbers need an increase.

2) Australian rules football
Generally popular around the whole of Australia among most age groups.

1) Cricket
Even after the ball-tampering saga, I still believe cricket deserves its spot at #1 on this list. Reasons why?

In the summer, everyone knows, plays, follows and goes to the cricket. They play it on the beach, in the driveway, wherever!

What do you think Roarers? Would you have ranked them differently? Do you agree with my rankings?