But if you’re moving to Australia from Asia, what can you expect to see and experience?
The most popular sports for Australians to watch are Australian rules football, horse racing, rugby, motorsports, soccer, cricket, and tennis. However, the sports with the most participants are different, with aerobics, swimming, golf, netball, and cycling all coming out above the others.
This contrasts somewhat with Asia, where soccer, baseball, and basketball are far more popular than cricket, tennis, and rugby. If you do still miss your favourite sports from back home, then don’t fret as you can still find them right across Australia.
Cognitive sports like chess are incredibly popular across Asia. In the latest FIDE country rankings, China ranks third behind Russia and the United States. Meanwhile, Australia sits in 41st place, though that’s still above Thailand, South Korea, and Japan.
Most major cities in Australia have at least one chess club. For example, Melbourne Chess Club is the biggest in the country and has been organising competitions in the country since the mid-19th century.
Poker is another popular sport in Australia, with Aussies enjoying playing online and in person. The nation has produced several successful professional players, though according to The Hendon Mob, the highest earner from Australia only ranks 60th overall in the world.
If you’re familiar with poker in Asia, you’ll find the perception and level of prevalence are similar. However, parts of Asia still lead the way by holding live events like the APPT Open, which was scheduled to take place in Taipei City in 2020. At present, Australian players typically have to travel abroad to take part in larger competitions as few take place at home.
Participation in Sport
One thing that is notable about Australian sports is that participation rates are much higher than in other countries. More than 50% of Aussie adults take part in sporting activities, while 9 in 10 report having at least some interest in sport.
In China, only 33.9% of people regularly partake in sport, a rate that is similar in many other Asian countries.
With participation and interest in sport so high, you’ll find that conversations about it can’t be avoided. It’ll also be a great way to make friends and meet new people if you’re new to the country or you’ve moved to a new town or city.
An area where Australia lags behind Asia a lot is esports. Asia is by far the biggest market for competitive video gaming and produces the most esports athletes.
The popularity in Asia is helped by a number of factors. Firstly, the continent has a lower median age of 32 compared to Australia’s 37. Since esports is predominantly enjoyed by younger adults means there’s a proportionately higher market in Asia.
Secondly, Australia has suffered with chronically slow internet speeds for many years. With average download speeds of 58.83 Mbps, the land down under ranked 61st on the Ookla Speedtest Global Index in December 2021. That’s an improvement on previous years though, and huge investments have been promised. In the first few months of 2020, the country climbed the rankings slightly too, reaching 56th place with download speeds of 77.88 Mbps.
However, it pales in comparison to Asia. The top three spots on the list are Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong, each with speeds above 240 Mbps. Thailand takes 7th spot at 206.81 Mbps, while China, Macau, Japan, and Taiwan are 16th, 17th, 20th, and 21st places respectively.
Faster internet speeds make a big difference in esports, as slow connections and lag can make it difficult to enjoy online gaming and can even stop you from being competitive.
Overall, sporting culture is similar in Australia and many parts of Asia, though there are some minor differences here and there. Sport in general is significantly more popular in Australia than in many other parts of the world, so it could be a great way to meet new people in the country.