Whether you call it football or soccer, there is no denying that it is one of the most popular games in the world. It is played by people young and old all over the globe, and of course, top-flight football is an incredibly huge industry that generates millions of pounds in revenue.
In many countries, it is considered the national sport, and people flock to grounds all over their country and even abroad to watch games. Loads of football matches are televised, and viewing figures are high all over the world.
When you add to that the various gambling websites that get in on the action by offering various incentives to players, such as bet365 bonus code NZ, it’s easy to see why the sport is so popular, but what do New Zealanders make of the beautiful game?
Rugby holds the top spot
Without a doubt, the most popular sport in New Zealand is rugby. Football does not even come close, and the All Blacks are one of the most famous rugby teams in the world. They have taken the Rugby World Cup crown three times, in 1987, 2011 and 2015. They are also the only international rugby team to have won the accolade twice in a row.
No matter how popular football becomes, it is unlikely to top the charts. In fact, most of the time, it is ranked perhaps fourth or maybe fifth in popular sports in the country. New Zealanders are more inclined to be involved in cricket, netball, and basketball before soccer.
No real national presence
Sport is all about winning and losing, and one of the reasons why the Premier League-type football teams and the national teams are so popular is because they go up against each other, and there is a real chance that anyone could win. The same cannot be said for New Zealand; their national football team was ranked in the FIFA world rankings at 104th. They did not even manage to qualify for the World Cup in 2022; they lost their match to Costa Rica.
Domestically, things are on the up. Wellington Phoenix are enjoying an excellent start to the A-Leagues season, sitting top of the ladder after eight games. They will be joined in the competition next season by a new franchise in Auckland, with Steve Corica this week announced as the team’s inaugural coach. A sustainable rivalry between the two is sure to have benefits for the game as a whole.
Sports betting is popular in New Zealand, with rugby, cricket, netball, and basketball all being on offer to those wanting to take a punt. There are lots of different bookmakers, both physically and online, so if someone was interested in betting on football, the chances are it would be available. It could well be one of the keys to boosting the interest in soccer in New Zealand.
As more people bet on the outcomes of teams in other countries, the drive to create a national soccer league may well gain momentum. The New Zealand national team will be attempting to qualify for the next World Cup, and successful participation will see an increase in the popularity of the sport.