EletiofeWomen's sport dominates list of Australia's favourite teams

Women’s sport dominates list of Australia’s favourite teams


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  • Research shows women’s cricketers are most loved
  • Matildas, Diamonds and rugby sevens team also rate highly

Meg Lanning

Meg Lanning led her Australia side to victory in the Women’s T20 World Cup in March this year.
Photograph: Kelly Defina/Getty Images

Australia’s favourite sporting teams are dominated by women, according to new research that may bruise a few egos among the nation’s top male athletes.

A report released on Tuesday by market research company True North evaluated fans’ emotional connection for 13 of Australia’s sporting national teams. Basking in the glow of their recent World Cup win, the women’s cricket team topped the list, followed by the Matildas, Australia’s women’s rugby sevens team and netball’s Diamonds, whose favourability has surged since the last survey.

Australia’s T20 men’s cricket side was the most popular men’s team, coming in fifth, said the research, which was conducted in March and April when most of the sporting world had come to coronavirus-induced halt.

Although the report acknowledged Australian’s men’s teams were more well known, the women still significantly outperformed their male counterparts among respondents who were “familiar” with the teams.

Overall, the Matildas were considered Australia’s broadest loved team, with two-thirds of sports fans familiar with the Sam Kerr-led side, which also ranked second in overall emotional connection. The Socceroos were considered the most well known side overall and were familiar to four-fifths of all respondents.

Georgie Maynard, the director of True North, said the women’s teams performed very strongly because the public respected them as hardworking and honourable. “The level of trust is very high,” she said.

Sports fans’ connection to the men’s teams had not fallen since the last survey in October, but they generally had what Maynard described as a higher “rejector score”. “There is more judgment about how they carry themselves or their past behaviour,” she said.

The opposite was true of the Diamonds, who are enjoying sky-high support off the back of the players’ conduct during the coronavirus lockdown. Maynard said the netball players had remained engaged with fans and were particularly active on social media. They also were involved in bushfire fundraiser match and took salary cuts without controversy when the Covid crisis hit.

Maynard added that there was “bit of a glow” around the women’s cricketers, who enjoyed T20 World Cup glory in March in front of nearly 90,000 fans at the MCG in what some viewed as a watershed moment for the sport.

The men’s Test cricket team ranked seventh in emotional connection, followed by the Boomers, Kangaroos and Socceroos. The Wallabies, whose governing body Rugby Australia has had a tumultuous few months, were down in 12th, behind women’s basketballers the Opals.

Other findings included that the men’s Big Bash team the Hobart Hurricanes garnered the strongest emotional connection, while in general, AFL teams outperform other leagues on this measure.

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