AUSTRALIA IS A NATION with a rich sporting history. Since foundation, Australia has overachieved on the global stage and outperformed nations with populations far exceeding our own. Along the way, we’ve produced some of the world’s top athletes and taken home some of the most coveted silverware. Cultural attention is an infamously fickle beast, however, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the nation’s interest in sport was directly tied to the fortunes of our national teams. In that respect we’ve had a strong year, something that’s validated in this year’s Google search data, which shows Australian interest in sport isn’t waning one bit.
Google has released swathes of analytical data detailing what Aussies were searching for this year. As usual, it’s a fairly strong indication of what’s been controlling the zeitgeist over the past year. Unsurprisingly, given Australia’s storied sporting pedigree, sports stars dominated the list of the most searched Australians, with Matildas captain Sam Kerr nabbing the top spot.
Kerr presumably benefited from the Matildas’ run at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and appropriately drew plenty of searches, many of which were likely from fans looking for updates on the striker’s wounded calf. Her Matildas teammates also garnered attention, with Mary Fowler taking the second spot and Ellie Carpenter the ninth. The Women’s World Cup was big business in 2023, and Google has the data to prove it. The most searched for ‘how to’ question was ‘how to watch the women’s world cup?’
Rounding out the athlete spots in the top ten is retired cricketer Michael Clarke in third (whose position can likely be attributed to searchers seeking gossip on his off-field exploits, rather than 40-something dads looking for highlights from his glory days), high-flying Rugby League star Reece Walsh in fourth, and rising boxer Tim Tszyu in seventh.
Find the full list below.
The most searched for Australians of 2023
1. Sam Kerr
2. Mary Fowler
3. Michael Clarke
4. Reece Walsh
5. Daniel Andrews
6. Bianca Censori
7. Tim Tszyu
8. Kathleen Folbigg
9. Ellie Carpenter
10. Lidia Thorpe
Google also revealed Australian’s most searched for sporting events of 2023. Despite Matildas stars claiming the top two spots on the list of most searched Australians, the Women’s World Cup was not the most searched event. That title belongs to the Cricket World Cup. The Ashes finished second and BBL (Big Bash League) placed fifth, proving that cricket is unrivalled when it comes to search traffic. But are that many people really interested in the Big Bash League? Google may have confused interest in the domestic cricket league with interest in another term commonly shortened to BBL.
The Women’s World Cup did manage to nab the third spot on that list, followed closely by the Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury super fight. For the full top ten, see below.
The most searched for sporting events of 2023
1. Cricket World Cup
2. The Ashes
3. FIFA Women’s World Cup
4. Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury
5. BBL (Big Bash League, maybe)
6. UFC 294/Alexander Volkanovski vs Islam Makhachev
7. UEFA Champions League
8. FA Cup
9. LIV Golf
10. United Cup (Tennis)
2023 was a year of world cups and while some did crack the top ten, a few others are notably absent. The Rugby World Cup, FIBA Basketball World Cup and Netball World Cup all missed out, as did the NRL and AFL. The wave of interest in American sports isn’t showing up in search traffic either, with the NBA and NFL both absent from the top ten. It seems that the majority of Australians prefer their sport to be domestic, European, or an international event.
Regardless of how many of these names and events you searched for in 2023, one thing is clear. Sport continues to draw the bulk of attention from Australians, and it’s difficult to see that changing anytime soon.