Passionate fans certainly help to drive the sports industry forward. In some countries around the world, that passion spills into obsession and Australia is a glowing example of this. According to Repucom’s SponsorLink, an overwhelming 91% of Australians are interested in sport and the last six months have proved fruitful for the nation’s sports loving population, especially the successes of its summer sports.
Success in the Ashes – audience of 8 million in third Test
In Australia, the most popular sport is cricket, with 41% of Australians saying they are interested in the sport.
Cricket continues to dominate in Australia as the number one sport, owing in large part to its strong colonial heritage. During the Australian summer (December to February), the national team faced rivals England in the Ashes tour and domestically, TV audiences for the five Test match series peaked during the third Test at the WACA stadium, with a cumulative TV audience close to eight million people for the five day event. What was perhaps even more telling was that despite a 5-0 whitewash in the tour which Australia won, TV audiences held strong through to the final two Tests with audiences of seven million and five million respectively.
For non-cricket playing nations, it might be hard to comprehend how anyone can watch a game for five days, but in Australia, this form of the game is almost as popular as the shorter one day format.
Newer forms of the game such as the International 20/20 series, although popular in India, does not reach the same level of avidity as the five day game in Australia. The latest short version of the game, the Big Bash League, has followed hotly on the tails of the Australian Test and one day series wins over England with incredible jumps in TV audiences this season.
The move from subscription service provider, Fox Sports to the free to air platform, Channel 10 has paid immediate dividends with the average TV audience per game jumping from 233,000 last season to 841,000 in 2013/14.