For me, I think the AFL has done a magnificent job in a relatively short time to get Australian Football into 2nd rank behind the dominate Rugby League. This I say is hard to deny when you look at the huge gap in crowds, memberships numbers, sponsorship dollars, tv ratings, media etc compared to Soccer and Rugby Union. You gotta feel for Rugby Union. I would have once said they were ranked 2nd. Sadly the reality for that code today is a 4th ranking behind Soccer. How times change eh?
Anyway, thought it would be interesting to see your rankings and justifications. Here is mine:
1st. NRL - Rugby League
2nd. AFL - Australian Football
3rd. FFA - Soccer
4th. ARU - Rugby Union
I still stand by my rankings above.
Soccer... other than its impressive junior numbers that are huge nationwide, is of very little interest to most Sydneysiders. Just look at the A-League crowds, sponsorship, membership numbers and abysmal tv ratings in Sydney for the facts. As for Rugby Union and it’s ranking in NSW, don’t take my word for it, check out what the former CEO of Rugby Australia says.
John O'Neill had good reason to be upset by the Wallabies capitulation to the All Blacks in last weekend's Bledisloe Cup opener.
He ran rugby in Australia during its golden age in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the Wallabies regularly beat their fiercest foes, and won their second World Cup. Under his stewardship, the game was in rude financial health.
But as his favoured code has wilted, O'Neill has flirted with other ways to get his football fix. "I occasionally go to a Swans game, and I see all these rugby union people there," O'Neill says. "They are all former Waratahs supporters. The Swans are now their team."
"There was an exercise we used to do internally, a market share index, based on TV ratings, crowds, attendances, revenue," O'Neill says of his time in charge.
"It was remarkable. Rugby, not having been a professional sport for that long, it only started in 1996, but it was level pegging with rugby league and only behind AFL," he says. "Now we are a distant fourth. We are a very distant fourth behind the AFL, NRL and A-League."
https://www.smh.com.au/business/compani ... 4zyjm.html
The code wars
Australia's winter sport "code wars" are usually framed as a conflict between the two giants of the national sporting landscape: Aussie Rules football and rugby league (and their respective governing bodies, the AFL and NRL). Flush with billions of dollars in broadcast revenue, they have spent the better part of the past three decades trying to expand into each other's turf.
But one intriguing subplot in the war for football supremacy that is less discussed is the battle between Australian rules and rugby union that is playing out in parts of Sydney.
O'Neill isn't the only rugby fan to dabble in AFL lately. There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence, and some hard data, to suggest there has been a migration of rugby fans to the Indigenous game.
"I have a lot of mates who were rugby people growing up in Sydney" says Henry Playfair, a former AFL forward who won a premiership with Geelong and also played for the Sydney Swans."Now they are obsessed with AFL."
Playfair is now an assistant coach with St Kilda in Melbourne. He attended Shore School, a member of Sydney's elite GPS association and a former rugby powerhouse. The school has about 1600 students. "When I was there we had maybe four or five kids in the whole school, that I knew of, who were playing AFL. One of them was Lewis Roberts-Thomson," he says. (Roberts-Thompson, a close friend of Playfair's, was an AFL star at the Swans.)
"If you fast forward to now, they run a full on program with about 75 to 80 kids who actually play the game. That is a big jump in 15 years."
Four of Sydney's GPS schools (Shore, Newington, St Josephs and Riverview) and all six of the CAS schools (Knox, St Aloysius, Barker, Trinity, Waverley, Cranbrook) now have active AFL programs.
"It is becoming a mainstream winter sport in many of these schools," says AFL NSW chief executive Sam Graham.
It's the result of a long and concerted effort by the AFL, which has methodically exploited rugby's weaknesses to entrench itself in the Harbour City.
This effort included "going through the pain of dealing with schools like Shore and Barker," recalls Gabrielle Trainor, a respected Sydney media operative and AFL board director. "The Old Boys were outraged at the prospect of AFL being played at those schools, but ultimately it became demand driven."
Says O'Neill: "I was amazed at how well the Swans would market the game to the headmasters of all the leading GPS, CAS and ISA schools. You'd go to the Swans game and in the Chairman's box they were all there."
The Swans average attendances long ago surpassed those of the Waratahs.CREDIT:AAP
It isn't just private schools where AFL has trod on rugby's toes. The parts of Sydney where the AFL is the strongest (and still growing) happen to be areas that historically were rugby union strongholds. Between 2012 and 2017, participation in Aussie Rules has grown by 66 per cent in the eastern suburbs, and 46 per cent in the north shore, according to AFL NSW data obtained by the Herald.
The biggest junior Aussie Rules clubs in the city - the East Sydney Bombers, the Willoughby Wildcats and the Manly Bombers - are in those parts of town as well.
Yet, while the AFL has undeniably made inroads into rugby's turf at a grassroots level, it's in the professional realm where it is has really pulled away.
The Swans average attendances, TV ratings and memberships long ago surpassed those of the Waratahs and now completely dwarf them. And the eastern suburbs and north shore (as well as the Hills district and Sutherland shire) are among the strongest areas for Swans members and fans, according to membership data viewed by the Herald.
https://www.smh.com.au/business/compani ... 4zyjm.html