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A-League clubs rated the worst for 'emotional connections' - report

6:57 AM WAT 05/07/2019
Central Coast Mariners Matt Simon
Round ball teams in Australia are seemingly struggling to provide a connection with their fans

A-League clubs have been ranked the worst of any summer sports teams in Australia for emotional connection.

According to a report written by True North Research, A-League clubs are struggling to endear themselves to sports fans with Central Coast Mariners ranked last in a ladder evaluating teams active during summer. 

Across 44 teams evaluated, Sydney FC are the highest placed football side but still only come in at 24th.

Leading the pack is Women's Big Bash side the Sydney Sixers with a number of AFLW and NBL teams all ranked higher than most A-League clubs.

The results were achieved via a recent online survey which sought to provide a nationally representative example of Australians 16 years and older with respondents required to be at least 'somewhat familiar' with the teams they were rating. 

While a rather abstract way to assess sports teams, True North Research believe emotional connections are critical to understanding the appeal of a club and how fans will react as a result. 

"Sport fandom is emotional. You cannot simply look at outcome-based measures like attendance, TV ratings, membership etc. and understand the sports fan and why they emotionally connect with a team," their report read. 

"The fact that attendance is up (or down) doesn’t tell you whether next year will be better, whether there is something you can build on or whether these outcomes are fickle or resilient.

"Emotions matter because they drive outcomes, affect long-term advancement, and protect a property when in crisis.

"BenchMark looks beyond behavioural outcomes. It examines the very heart of the relationship between a sports property and sports fans. It delivers insights into a wide range of aspects that will affect an individual’s attachment to a team."

While A-League teams struggled in the survey, the Matildas topped the list for national teams with the Socceroos only slightly further back in fourth and are the highest ranked men's side when it comes to fans' emotional connections. 

Download the full report here.