Australia's Most And Least Trusted Sporting Teams

On the positive side, they can't sink any lower.

Surprise, surprise. The Australian men's cricket team has hit rock bottom in the public's estimation. In fact it can't get any lower.

This is just one of the findings from a first-of-its-kind survey on the emotional connection Australians have to our sporting teams.

In an online survey conducted by True North Research, more than 4,000 people rated Australian national teams, and teams from our winter sports leagues, on five key indicators:

  • Respect
  • Enjoyment
  • Trust
  • Pride
  • Bond

The results?

Let's mention a couple of positives before we get to the negatives. The news for Australia's women's teams is great. People like them. They trust them too.

Based on the survey results, researchers compiled a list of 62 Australian teams, ranked according to what they called the "emotional connection benchmark".

The top four teams were all national women's teams -- led by the Pearls (our women's rugby 7s team who won the gold medal at the Rio Olympics), the Matildas (soccer), Diamonds (netball), and Opals (basketball).

They beat the Kiwis in the final too, which is like winning two gold medals.

The men's cricket team? It was ranked 22nd in terms of our emotional connection.

But things got a LOT worse for the team tainted by the ball-tampering scandal when the data was sorted by respondents who identified as fans. The team fell to the bottom of the pile in 62nd place, and were named the team which "least uphold the integrity of the sport".

Ouch. That's right. According to this survey (and we'd guess, many more informal pub surveys), the Australian men's cricket team is the least trusted team in Australia.

Steve Smith will be back in March trying to help the Aussies climb a few rungs on both the trust list and the cricket rankings.

Also at the unwanted end of the trust scale were the Essendon Bombers, which shows that the damage from the 2012 supplements scandal has not worn off yet.

NRL team the Canterbury Bulldogs were also near bottom, due no doubt in part to the Mad Monday antics this year, but also perhaps, like the Bombers, for distasteful moments in the past.

Results of the survey were also sorted by code. The top two clubs in the NRL and AFL that fans have an emotional connection to?

The Melbourne Storm and Richmond respectively -- which is a nod both to strong recent results onfield but also a positive club culture.

The research was presented in full at the Money in Sport conference last week.

Full report.