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Summer sport showdown: tennis, cricket and soccer vie for Aussie TV viewers’ attention

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2013 – September 2014 (n=16,176).Base: Australians 14+. Thumbnail photo of Dominika Cibulkova copyright Australian Open

Summer 2015 is shaping up to be a sizzler, and we’re not just talking temperature. This month, TV sports fans can look forward to a bonanza of live broadcasts, including the Australian Open tennis, the Test cricket and the AFC Asian Cup. In celebration of this very sporty season, Roy Morgan Research reveals Australia’s most avid tennis, cricket and soccer viewers.

Of these three sports, cricket is the most popular: 40% of Australians 14+ (or 7,672,000 people) say they watch cricket on TV almost always or occasionally, ahead of tennis (35% or 6,668,000 people) and soccer (23%/4,364,000 people).

While soccer viewing peaks among Aussies aged 35-49 (26%), those over 65 are the most likely to watch the cricket and tennis. In fact, more than half (52%) of Australians 65+ watch cricket on TV almost always or occasionally, while 47% tune in for the tennis. (Only 19% of them watch soccer.)

Cricket, tennis or soccer? Aussie TV sports viewers by age


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2013 – September 2014 (n=16,176). Base: Australians 14+

Men, women, bats and rackets

Not surprisingly, a higher proportion of men than women tune in for cricket (50% vs 29%) and soccer (31% vs 14%) on TV. Women (36%), however, edge out men (33%) when it comes to tennis viewing. 

Test matches are the most popular type of cricket among male TV viewers, watched by 44% of Australian men 14+, slightly ahead of One Day matches (43%). Just under a third of Aussie men (32%) watch the Australian Open tennis.

Thirty five percent of Aussie women view the Australian Open, while One Day cricket and Test matches attract similar proportions of female viewers (just over 24% and just under 24% respectively).

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“January is traditionally a big month for fans of cricket and tennis, but this year the Asian Cup offers another exciting option for TV sports viewers. Held every four years and being hosted by Australia for the first time, this long-running tournament promises to boost viewer numbers for soccer in this country.

“Our findings show that as Australians get older, they’re more likely to watch tennis and cricket on TV, whereas their interest in watching soccer broadcasts wanes once they reach their 50s. Overall, watching cricket and soccer on TV is far more widespread among men than women; tennis, on the other hand is watched by a higher proportion of women.

“While cricket undoubtedly wins our ‘summer sport showdown’ in terms of viewer numbers, Victorian residents buck this trend: slightly more of them watch tennis on TV than cricket!

“Knowing the age, gender and other demographics of Australians who are most likely to tune into broadcasts of these popular summer sports allows potential advertisers and sponsors to tailor their marketing so as to resonate with as many viewers as possible.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%