In 2015, the Australian market had their fingerprints all over the global soccer scene in terms of hosting major events and being involved in high-profile friendlies.
Prominent teams from the English Premier League, La Liga and Serie A participated in friendlies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the middle of July due to Melbourne, Australia being one of the host cities for the 2015 International Champions Cup. Some of the most popular teams from around the globe, including Real Madrid, Manchester City and AS Roma were displaying their high quality soccer skills in front of adoring Aussie fans.
Sydney FC was also a part of the action, as the club played two friendlies with Tottenham and Chelsea to compete against the highest level of competition. The A-League and its teams know they aren’t on the same levels as some of the aforementioned leagues, but its popularity is growing for the local demographic, but still has work to do to catch the country’s most popular league, the NRL.
Even with the massive popularity of the NRL in Australia, it did not garner out-of-this-world ticket prices on the primary market, as tickets for the NRL Grand Final on October 4 started at just $92 AUD (about $65 USD). Comparatively, A-League postseason ticket prices on Viagogo.com, which is just a touch more expensive than regular season contests, show up from $35 to $75.
Currently, Sydney FC is in the top four of the A-League Ladder trailing only Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Brisbane Roar FC and Melbourne City FC. Filip Holosko is in the top seven of the entire league in goals scored with four. While Sydney FC’s international friendlies following the A-League season have yet to be announced, they surely will look to attract top-tier competition, and those traveling to Sydney from across the globe can find an array of hotel options when planning their trip.
Australians even had their hands on the North American sports scene, as former Rugby star Jarryd Hayne got on the field for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL. Hayne created quite a buzz when he made the 49ers, becoming a unique player to make the rugby-to-American football transition. Hayne, who played for the Parramatta Eels, was one of the NRL’s best players and was awarded the Rugby League International Federation’s International Player of the Year award in 2009.
Additionally, Australian Ben Simmons, currently a freshman at LSU, figures to become just the second top pick in the NBA Draft in 2016, following Golden State Warriors championship center Andrew Bogut, who was the top selection in the 2005 Draft.
As the world of sports becomes more globalized, it appears as if Australia, whether it is hosting events, participating in events or producing top-tier athletes, will be part of the continuing equation.