Professional Sport in Australia and New Zealand: An Introduction to the Special Issue
Professional sport in Australia and New Zealand is an important and increasingly significant feature of the Australasian sport landscape. Australia and New Zealand sustain a wide range of professional sport leagues, including a multitude of professional football leagues, one of them a uniquely Australian brand of football. Numerous high profile Australasian athletes are successful in professional sports such as tennis, golf and surfing, sports traditionally dominated by Europeans and Americans. The two countries also share involvement in one of the truly transnational professional sporting competitions: Super 12 Rugby Union. There are currently fifteen national leagues in Australia covering the following sports: Australian rules football, rugby union, rugby league, football, netball, softball, waterpolo, and both men's and women's leagues in cricket, basketball, field hockey, and surf lifesaving. New Zealand teams compete in professional leagues based in Australia such as the National Basketball League (NBL), professional soccer (the Hyundai A League), and the National Rugby League (NRL). Many of these leagues allow athletes to earn their living as professionals. Both countries also have successful elite athlete development systems that provide playing talent not only for domestic competitions, but also for overseas professional sports as diverse as English Premier League Football, Rugby League, Rugby Union and County Cricket in the UK, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the Womens' National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League. Athletes from Australia and New Zealand also feature prominently in the world Top 100 for professional sports tours as diverse as tennis (e.g., Lleyton Hewitt and Alicia Molik), golf (e.g., Karrie Webb, Michael Campbell, and Adam Scott), surfing (e.g., Layne Beachley, Joel Parkinson, Chelsea Georgeson, Luke Egan) and motor racing (e.g., Mark Webber).
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Volume (Year): 8 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (September)
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