Sydney, Dec.20 : Tennis, swimming and Aussie Rules football top the list for sports-mad Australians, a new survey has shown.
In a surprise result, tennis (62 per cent) pipped swimming (61 per cent), with Aussie Rules third (57 per cent) as the sports most Australians are interested in.
The Sweeney Sports Report, the nation's most authoritative sports and sponsorship survey, ranked cricket fourth (51 per cent), while soccer slumped to 49 per cent.
News.com.au quoted Sweeney Sports general manager Todd Deacon as admitting that he was shocked by the survey results.
"There could be a number of reasons for it, from the Federer-Nadal phenomenon to the fact Lleyton Hewitt and Bec Cartwright are on every magazine cover. It's also one of the few sports in the top 10 which is actually more popular with females than males," Deacon said.
Golf (30 per cent) ranked ninth, perhaps an accurate reflection given the final day of the Australian Open on Sunday was bowled over by a washed-out game of cricket.
The Sweeney survey calculates interest by combining data about how many Australians in capital cities participate in, attend, watch on television, listen to radio, read print media reports and use the internet for information about each sport.
TV viewing of tennis became the highest for any sport, with almost six of every 10 people tuning in.
In other results, Melbourne clearly reigns as Australia's sporting capital, hosting the country's three most important sporting events.
The AFL grand final stretched its lead slightly as the sporting event considered by Australians to be the most important.
The latest edition of the Sweeney Sports Report covered 22 major sports played or covered by the media from April to September.
Interviewing was finished just before the AFL and NRL grand finals.
Computer-assisted telephone interviews were conducted with 1000 Australians in the six state capital cities and Canberra.
In analysis, the results were weighted by age and sex within each city so the overall findings were fully representative of the populations. (ANI)
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