Enough with sport, we might not be that keen on it
Television ratings from the weekend’s big finals clashes will confirm for most that Australians love nothing more than large chaps smashing each other in pursuit of a football.
(Why would you watch sport when you can watch Antiques Roadshow, this is great)
But there is now evidence that we are not as sports-mad as we might think.
A new survey reveals that the number of TV viewers who think there is too much sport on their regular channels is greater than those who think there is not enough.
Further, about half of all women think there is a sports overload.
Sporting tragics still dominate the population, with 57 per cent of Australians identifying themselves as fans, according to the study by Auspoll.
However, 43 per cent of Australians say they are not interested—30 per cent describing themselves as ``not much of a sport fan’’ and 13 per cent saying that are not a fan at all.
The survey results confirm that people are dividing their time among a significant number of recreational interests other than games.
One sign of this is that 40 per cent of Australians believe there is too much sport on free-to-air television channels, Auspoll found. They were split between 19 per cent who said there was far too much, and 21 per cent who said there was slightly too much.
About 38 per cent, the next largest group, said the amount of sports coverage on free-to-air networks was about right.
Just nine per cent said there was far too little, and 14 per cent said slightly too little, for a total of 23 per cent wanting more.
Those unimpressed by games are most likely to be women (half of whom say they are not sports fans), people of both sexes aged 18 to 24 (47 per cent), and people aged over 65 (44 per cent).
The survey was commissioned by ASTRA, the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association, and will be used in the debate over anti-siphoning laws.
These laws allocate sporting events for television coverage and there is a fierce contest for the top codes and contests between traditional television networks and the subscription provider Fox Sports (in which News Ltd, publisher of this website has an interest).
The pay-TV folk say they should have more of the sporting cake so that the peiople who want their athletic product live and immediate can buy the services they want.
The traditional networks have a ``keep it free’’ campaign and warn that Australians might be deprived of iconic national events bought up subscription television rivals.
The Auspoll survey found that 21 per cent of Australians said they were a keen sports fan and 36 per cent simply rated themselves ``a sports fan’’—for a total of 57 per cent.
About half of all women and 30 per cent of men think sport is over-done on the traditional networks.
But some 86 per cent of hard-core sports fans want a greater choice of live events shown on television.
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