This year’s Australian Open tennis tournament was a smash hit on and off the court, with Aussies rating it well ahead of the Ashes as our best summer sporting event.
A nation-wide Nielsen poll held exclusively for the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) found that 43 per cent of respondents voted for the Australian Open as one of their top three most anticipated sporting event of the summer, making it considerably more popular than the latest instalment of the legendary Ashes Test series against England (33 per cent).
As Australia and New Zealand prepare for the first Twenty20 international of the season tomorrow, cricket retains a broad and enduring appeal for sports fans with 20 per cent nominating the international one-day and Twenty20 series as one of their favourite events – equalling the Sydney-Hobart yacht race in third place – while 19 per cent opted for the increasingly popular local Big Bash Leagues.
The supporting legs of the Australian tennis season – which include the Brisbane International, Sydney International and Hopman Cup – were next with 16 per cent of votes, just ahead of the Australian Grand Prix (14 per cent) which in turn tipped out the opening round of the V8 Supercar series (13 per cent).
The domestic football season – the A-League, FFA Cup and Asian Champions League – resonated with only nine per cent of those surveyed, ahead of the Australian legs of the World Surf League (6 per cent), while the Australian international golf season received five per cent of votes.
TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said Australia’s great love affair for our summer sporting calendar showed no signs of abating.
“Before summer comes to a close, thousands upon thousands of Australians will have packed up the family and headed to one of our iconic sporting stadia, arenas and ovals to experience the excitement of professional sports,” Ms Osmond said.
“This is fantastic news for the visitor economy, especially for those major events like the Australian Open that attract interstate and even international visitors.
“The Australian Open is estimated to inject more than $280 million in Victoria’s economy and 50 per cent of the 743,000 attendees are from outside Melbourne – that’s a win-win for everyone from sporting fans to airlines, accommodation and hospitality.”