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Survey suggests New Zealanders prefer walking to rugby

Survey suggests New Zealanders prefer walking to rugby
April 5, 2016

A new survey on New Zealanders’ interests shows that Kiwis are losing some interest in rugby union (and rugby league) while activities such as walking and running are growing in popularity.

Setting out to examine how Kiwis’ interest in various sports have changed since 2010, Nielsen’s Sports, Arts and Entertainment Report interviewed 12,000 people, asking “what sports and activities do you have an interest in?”

The responses showed New Zealanders’ interests have moved away from some traditional team and individual sports towards a personal focus on health and wellbeing.

Walking came out on top in the survey, recording an increase of 29% since 2010, with 44% of respondents preferring it.

Interest in rugby union had dropped by 17% to lie second with 34%, and interest in rugby league had fallen, down 22% to 21%.

Camping and trekking came in third, with interest increasing by 13% while cycling, going to the gym and running have all seen growth in interest.

New Zealanders' interest in sport and active recreation.

Among team sports, football recorded the largest growth, with 18% growth in the last five years while interest in motor racing and netball also declined and now are no longer ranked in the top 10.  

Commenting on the findings, Nielsen Director Amanda Wisniewski asked “does this mean New Zealanders love affair with major sports is over?

“No, it’s a reflection of changes in personal priorities, and that supporters crossover their interests into many sports.”

A related study from Nielsen company on the ‘Star Power’ of leading sporting personalities named retired All Black Richie McCaw as New Zealand's most popular athlete, followed by shot put superstar Valerie Adams, world number one golfer Lydia Ko, another All Black legend Dan Carter and retired international cricketer Brendon McCullum.

This separate poll asked 2,500 respondents to name three male and three female sports people. The results were "extrapolated out" using population figures, with McCaw receiving nearly 1.7 million "unprompted mentions".

Nielsen also reported that 39% of Kiwis use newspapers to get their sports information, under one third use Facebook and about a quarter listen to the radio.

TV was the key driver of sporting engagement, with two in five keeping up to date that way. Seven out of the top 10 sports website experienced growth since February last year.

Wisniewski added that "options to 'watch the game' have never been greater and online engagement is skyrocketing”, adding that “seven out of 10 sports fans use a smartphone and one in three own a tablet.”

Nielsen New Zealand have previously worked with Les Mills on a fitness related research.

Click here for more information on the Nielsen New Zealand website.

Lower image shows Dan Carter and Richie McCaw.

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