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Australians undecided about whether sports competitions should return in 2020

Australians undecided about whether sports competitions should return in 2020
May 1, 2020

Only 39% of Australians are in favour of seeing elite sport return during the Coronavirus, with 61% either against or undecided about a return to competition for the AFL, NRL, A-League, Super Netball and Super Rugby in 2020.

However, according to a survey by True North Research, followers of the affected codes promise that when they do return, passionate support will be even stronger.

The findings, which show that doubt and uncertainty about whether sport will return this year is strong, result from True North Research surveying more than 1400 Australian sports fans.

While the NRL currently plans for its competition to return on 28th May, for the followers of other competitions, the certainty of return is reported to be low: AFL 52%, A-League 37%, Super Netball 37% and Super Rugby 25%.

Nearly 39% of Australian sports fans feel that at least one of the AFL, NRL, Super Netball, Super Rugby or the A-League should return to competition this year, but 61% are either against or unsure.

Commenting on the findings, True North Research Director, Georgie Maynard states “of course there’s a level of doubt or uncertainty about whether sport should return. For many it is a signal of a return to normal life and a much-needed distraction but for others, it’s something that is irresponsible and even irrelevant given their own pressing needs.”

However, Maynard doesn’t see that fans passion for sport will diminish over time, expecting fans to be even more passionate if competitions return to normal in 2021. Across all codes, 88% of followers will be just as passionate or more passionate about these competitions next season.

Maynard suggests "codes should continue to foster this passion by providing engaging content and keeping the conversation going with fans.”

Maynard added that these results are also important for sponsors and broadcasters to consider, advising "we know sport is about emotion, so regardless of when sports do return, sports fans will remember those who stood by their team and those who didn’t.

“On the flip side, for sponsors looking for value, there is a golden opportunity, even now, to engage fans with their story and message, and when competitions do return, those watching will be paying closer attention.”

The report was conducted as part of True North’s ongoing study into the emotional connection to Australia’s teams and competitions.

Click here for more information on True North’s sporting insights. 

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28th April 2020 - NRL announces 20-round season schedule with 25th October grand final

24th April 2020 - NRL season on target for 28th May restart after agreement with broadcasters

18th April 2020 - NRL moves forward with competition resumption in late May

13th April 2020 - Federal sports minister says NRL restart plan is ‘a bit ambitious’

9th April 2020 - Broadcaster accuses NRL of ‘mismanagement’ as league announces plans to recommence on 28th May

5th April 2020 - NRL players to lose five months’ pay as part of new shutdown deal

30th March 2020 - NRL slashes costs and backs clubs through Coronavirus crisis

27th March 2020 - NRL and state leagues announce cancellation of competitions and representative programs

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24th March 2020 - NRL announces season suspension

10th April 2020 - AFL faces up to post lockdown changes

7th April 2020 - AFL players join with VicHealth to promote wellness during Coronavirus shutdown

30th March 2020 - AFL looks to secure $600 million loan

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22nd March 2020 - AFL suspends season until end of May in response to Coronavirus

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13th March 2020 - AFL and NRL seasons to go ahead behind closed doors due to Coronavirus fears

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