In a country full of athletes, it’s always hard to determine which one will rise above the rest. But now as the conclusive list for 2023 has been revealed, we take a look at why some of these stars have become some of the most popular in Australia.
From footy to footy, footy and footy (remarkably, these are four separate sports, depending on where you’re from), Australia’s love affair with sport has existed throughout its storied history. In Australia, sport isn’t just a pastime; it’s a way of life, intrinsic to the central identity of this sun-kissed nation. Athletes and teams are revered as national heroes, modern gladiators that unite millions of Australians nationwide.
And now, a study conducted by Australian sports experts BettingTop10 Australia has revealed which Australian athlete reigns supreme as the Most Popular Athlete in 2023. Each athlete is given a score out of 100 based on the number of followers they have across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the number of likes, comments and engagement their posts receive and the average monthly search volumes for keywords in Australia over the past 12 months. BettingTop10 Australia then produces an aggregate score.
Unsurprisingly, Daniel Ricciardo – the ever-smiling Formula 1 star – tops the study with an overall score of 87.53 out of 100. The AlphTauri driver, on loan from Red Bull, returned to the F1 grid in Hungary last weekend securing a P13 in his first competitive race since November 2022.
The Honey Badger has dominated discussions this season, opting to take a backseat with Red Bull following his departure from McLaren. Ricciardo’s return to Red Bull presented an opportunity to rediscover his pace and passion, and now back with the old racing team where we made his name all those years ago, Daniel Ricciardo writes another chapter in his Formula 1 fairytale.
Tennis’ Australian maverick certainly likes to do things by his own rules – and his own schedule – much to the annoyance of the ATP hierarchy. But it seems that it hasn’t affected Nick Kyrgios’ strong relationship with his millions of fans, sitting in second place behind Ricciardo, with a score of 80.33 out of 100.
The former Wimbledon finalist is usually very active on social media, utilising his platforms to communicate with his fans, giving updates regarding his competitive schedule, his recovery from injury and more recently, his return to the tennis court as a coach in Los Angeles.
With over 7.2 million followers on Instagram alone, it’s no surprise to see Ben Simmons, one of Australia’s greatest NBA exports, rounding out the Top 3 with a score of 77.85 out of 100. The Brooklyn Nets point guard left Australia to realise a career in the NBA, first joining the Philadelphia 76ers before joining Brooklyn last year.
The Melbourne-born star is an NBA Rookie of the Year and a three-time NBA All-Star and is widely considered one of the best Australian basketball players to have played in the NBA.
Sam Kerr is one of the most decorated footballers in the world, and the fourth most popular athlete in Australia. This year, as the country prepares to host the biggest women’s football tournament in history, Kerr has become emblematic of the growing popularity of women’s football and the meteoric rise in support for the Matildas.
Kerr is a four-time WSL champion, a two-time W-League champion, a three-time FA Cup champion and a two-time League Cup champion, to name a few. In 2022, Kerr was given the key to the city of Perth.
Check out the full list of Most Popular Athletes in Australia below.
|Daniel Ricciardo (Formula 1)||87.53|
|Nick Kyrgios (Tennis)||80.33|
|Ben Simmons (Basketball)||77.85|
|Sam Kerr (Soccer)||75.21|
|Pat Cummins (Cricket)||75.18|
|Ellyse Perry (Cricket)||74.77|
|Robert Whittaker (MMA)||69.89|
|Ash Barty (Tennis)||69.60|
|Alex de Minaur (Tennis)||68.66|
|Nathan Lyon (Cricket)||65.08|