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Most Popular Sports in Australia

The sports that are popular in Australia can be very different to elsewhere around the world, and in addition there are regional differences in the popularity of sports, for example the most popular football code in Sydney is Rugby League, while in Melbourne it is AFL. Here is a discussion and lists of the most popular sports in Australia. See more lists of top sports by country.

AFL is the most popular sport to watch

There are three lists of popular sports in Australia that can be compared, the list of the most popular sports search terms, the list of attendance figures for sports in Australia, and the number of participants in sports and activities. AFL is clearly the most popular spectator sport in Australia, though in terms of participation more men play golf, cricket and tennis. Rugby league is another popular sport, but not as a sport to play. It is also interesting to see that what people are interested in and search for online can be quite different to what they actually go to watch. It also highlights the difficulty in defining 'popular' sport - is it what people are most interested in, what they play the most or what they watch? The lists are summarized below.

Rank Most Searched Most Attended Most Participants
1 Australian Rules Football Australian Rules Football Aerobics
2 Cricket Horse Racing Golf
3 Football Rugby League Tennis
4 NRL Motor Sports Lawn Bowls
5 Golf Soccer (outdoor) Netball
6 Rugby Cricket (outdoor) Swimming
7 Soccer Rugby Union Cricket (outdoor)
8 Tennis Harness Racing Martial Arts
9 Basketball Tennis (indoor and outdoor) Basketball
10 Rugby League Dog racing Tenpin Bowling

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