Australia is a nation of bandwagon fans and it’s time we admit it

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Australia has always prided itself as being a sporting nation that gets behind its athletes no matter what, but times are changing and the nation’s fans are losing interest in sports.

Australia has been well known as a sporting nation and even claims Melbourne is the ‘sporting capital of the world’, but in the last decade or so it seems Australians are becoming pickier when it comes to supporting their teams or athletes.

When it comes to successful sporting teams, Australia is spoilt for choice. There are so many sporting codes to follow, as well as individual athletes.

Because Australia had a golden period of success through the 90s and early 00s, there is an expectation the nation should win anything it competes in.

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We saw Australians setting world records at the Olympic Games, while our national cricket, rugby and others teams almost all had golden generations and dominated their sports.

The domination by national teams raised expectations and people seem to assume this is the norm. Now that other countries have improved and caught up, and Australia has slowed in its investment, the domination is no longer there and fans are moving away.

This high expectation of success has trickled down to the national sporting codes such as the A-League. It is easy to see the relationship between successful teams and attendance numbers across all codes, as winning games equals more fans through the turnstiles.

The opposite is true when teams are going through a rough period and not performing, with the fans no where to be seen. Of course there are a few hardcore, loyal fans but sadly the general public is not as loyal.

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This impacts football more than other codes because the sport is already struggling to keep the general public interested due to poor coverage.

The public tends to pay attention when the Socceroos play, because most of the time they are playing World Cup qualifiers and winning. This is when the hype around the code is at the highest point, but once the FIFA World Cup ends that interest dies off.

These bandwagoners are very evident in the A-League. This season Melbourne Victory crowds have been much lower than previous seasons, because the side is not performing as well as they hoped.

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Bandwagon fans are not a bad thing, especially when they make up most of the crowd. However, it is up to A-League marketers to try and attract those fans, and the clubs to win games to bring them back.

It is time for Australians to admit they are not as strong supporters of sport as they used to be.

Featured Image Credit: Tourism Victoria

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Ben Johnston
I grew up on the Central Coast and fell in love with football in 2005. Supporter of Mariners, Manchester United and Macclesfield Town.

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