The Most Popular Sports in Australia

Sport is a crucial part of the Australian culture that dates back to the early nineteenth century. Australia is known for its success in various sporting events like crickets. Numerous sporting events like America’s Cup, the Melbourne Cup, and the Ashes have helped shaped the country’s identity. Some of the earliest organized sports in Australia include soccer, tennis, rugby union, rugby league, Australian Rules football, and crickets. Melbourne is popular for its numerous sporting events and is one of the world’s sporting capitals.

The most popular sports in Australia

Australian football

Australian football is a contact-game between 2 teams of 18 players. The main methods of moving the ball include running with it, handballing, and kicking. Players are not allowed to throw the ball. Players obstruct their opponents using their bodies but only tackle using their hands. The sport originated from some football matches that were played in 1858 in Melbourne. The first rules of Australian football were published in 1859 by the Melbourne Football Club. The AFL (Australian Football League) is the wealthiest body in the country.


Cricket is the second-most popular sport in the country which has been played in the region for over 210 years. It is a ball-and-bat game between 2 teams of 11 players on a 22 yards pitch that has wickets on all ends. Each corner has two balls that are balanced on three stumps. The first recorded match was played in 1803 in Sydney. According to the 2017-18 National-Cricket Census, over 1.5million Australians take part in the cricket programs. 30% of the participants were female. Over 2.3million people attended the cricket matches during the 2017-18 summer.

Rugby Union

Rugby Union is the third most popular Australian sport that is watched by an average of 18,818spectators per game. Rugby Union is one of the world’s Rugby codes that originated from England in the nineteenth century. Rugby Union was introduced in Australia in 1864 with the Sydney University establishing the first club. The first rugby union body (Southern Rugby Union) in Australia was formed in 1874. The earliest recorded rugby union games in Australia were played in 1876 in Queensland.

History of sports in Australia

Sports were introduced in the region by the British in 1810 when they held the first athletic event. Soon afterward, other sports like horse racing cricket and sailing competitions began. Early games in the country were played along class-lines. The upper class played sports on Saturdays while the lower class was only allowed to play during public holidays. Sydney was the earliest sporting hub in Australia, with the first football matches being played there as early as 1829. Horse-racing was introduced in Australia during the late 1830s, and it enjoyed support across the class-lines. Sport was used as a form of social integration between the upper and lower classes during the 1850s, 1840s, and 1830s.

The Most Popular Sports in Australia

RankSportAverage Spectators
1Australian football25,266
3Rugby union18,818
4Rugby league16,619

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