Its good news for sponsors of The Australian Open, as the latest Sweeney Sports Report released today has tennis as the nations favourite sport for the first time in 17 years. The 2007-08 edition of the Sweeney Sports Report shows that almost six of every ten (57 percent) adult Australians in the major cities are interested in tennis, swimming being of interest to 55 percent and cricket to 53 percent. The Australian Open was also voted the third most popular sporting event, behind the AFL Grand Final and The Melbourne Cup.

The Report – this years is the 22nd summer edition – is recognised as Australias most authoritative sports and sponsorship survey. It calculates interest by combining data about participation, attendance, television viewing, radio listening, print media readership and internet use.

Other key trends from the report were:

  • While the watching of most sports has increased, participation in them seems to be on the decline. Tennis experiences a four-point rise to 53 percent watching it on the television but a drop of three points to 19 percent in participation, and swimming participation also fell eight percent to 32 percent while TV audiences increased.
  • While most sports have experienced positive growth, it seems the big loser this year is golf. Interest, participation and television viewing are at all-time lows.
  • The big winner this year was print media. Almost half the population surveyed (48 percent) claim to use print media to inform themselves about the sports in which they are interested. Thats an eight-point increase from 2006-07.

So what does all this mean? Well, the Newshound is no sporting expert, but it looks to him as if were getting lazier, preferring to watch or read about our sporting obsessions rather than get stuck in.