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International ranking puts Sydney above Melbourne as Australia’s top sporting city

International ranking puts Sydney above Melbourne as Australia’s top sporting city
February 11, 2019

Melbourne’s self-appointed title as the sporting capital of the world has been usurped by London, according to a survey that rates Sydney ahead of the Victorian capital in a global list of 50 cities.

London, the host of the 2012 Summer Olympics, came in at the top in the 2019 Ranking of Sports Cities by BCW Sports, who describe themselves as “one of the world’s largest full service global communications agencies.”

The survey, which focussed on the viewpoints of International Sporting Federations and global sports media, ranked Melbourne at 15th, having been placed 11th in the previous two surveys.

Sydney, which hosted the Summer Olympics 44 years after Melbourne’s 1956 Games, came in 11th, after being placed sixth and seventh the previous two years.

Although Melbourne hosts January’s Australian Open, one of four grand slam tennis tournaments, as well as the Formula One Grand Prix, these events were not enough to elevate the Victorian capital above Sydney in a survey that relied heavily on international recognition.

The BCW Sports survey also relied heavily on the digital environment, using the total number of mentions of the word ‘sport’ and a city. Previously, the results were based on an online survey sent to a group of experts.

The change in methodology meant that Madrid moved from 29th to eighth and Manchester rose from 35th to 10th

Olympic Games hosting weighed heavily in the results with London finishing first for the third consecutive year; Los Angeles, the 2028 Olympic host ranking second for the second year in a row; and Paris, the 2024 host, coming third.

Tokyo, the 2020 host city, moved from fifth to fourth, swapping places with Lausanne, the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee.

Commenting on the results, City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp, stated “Melbourne is the undisputed sports capital of Australia.

“Melbourne has just played host to more than 780,000 fans from across the world during the two-week Australian Open grand slam, smashing previous attendance records. Motoring fans will be next to flock to our great city for the Formula One Grand Prix in March and, come September, we will host the AFL Grand Final.

“Regardless of what one survey may say, there is no better place than Melbourne for sports fans year-round.”

Melbourne has frequently topped the rankings in SportBusiness' Ultimate Sports City Awards.

Image: Sydney Olympic Park.

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29th January 2019 - Record 780,000 fans share the excitement of the 2019 Australian Open

14th August 2018 - Melbourne loses status as world’s most liveable city

13th March 2018 - Business groups back Sydney Stadium rebuilds as key to attracting major sporting events

19th May 2017 - Major sporting events driving millions of visits to Sydney

21st April 2016 - Auckland and Melbourne achieve multiple wins at 2016 Ultimate Sports City Awards

22nd January 2016 - Four Australian and New Zealand cities compete in 2016 Ultimate Sports City Awards

31st August 2015 - Melbourne wins most liveable city title for the fifth year running

4th February 2015 - Sporting events boost hotel occupancy

24th May 2012 - Singapore named Asia’s ultimate sports city

12th November 2009 - Melbourne Retains ‘Ultimate Sports City’ Status

24th April 2008 - F1 Grand Prix - The World’s Most Valuable Annual Sporting Events

2nd April 2008 - Melbourne retains ultimate sports city title

21st April 2008 - Melbourne remains the ‘Ultimate Sports City’


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