Australian supporters have a stronger emotional bond with the Matildas than any other sporting team, while research suggests the public has also forgiven our national cricketers over the “sandpapergate” scandal.
The Australian women’s soccer team took out top spot on the BenchMark EC Ladder, a survey conducted by True North Research to gauge the emotional connection fans have with their teams. It’s the second successive year that a national women’s sporting team has taken out the No.1 ranking after the women’s rugby sevens side (second this season) took out top spot last year.
A sample of 4,310 Australian residents completed a survey based on a number of indices including pride, trust, enjoyment, respect and bond. Despite their disappointing performance at the World Cup, the Matildas come out on top, pipping the Pearls, with the Socceroos coming third ahead of the Australian men’s T20 cricket team, the Wallabies, the men’s cricket Test team and the Australian women’s basketball team. The Australian men’s rugby league team and the Australian netball team rounded out the top 10.
The big improver was Australia’s male cricketers, who appeared to win back the respect of the public after the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa. In the previous year’s survey, the Test team was in 62nd and last place.