AFL Rd 17 - Port Adelaide v North Melbourne
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 15: A Sherrin football is pictured on Adelaide Oval from the southern end prior to the round 17 AFL match between the Port Adelaide Power and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Adelaide Oval on July 15, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

How many people outside of Australia were familiar with Aussie rules football before they found it on the internet? Not many, we would assume.

In recent years, online sports betting has helped it gain tremendous traction with people outside of the Oceania region.

Since US states are now allowed to pass legislation permitting sports betting, many have done so, and operators are taking bets on non-US sports. One such case is Australian rules football, which you can bet on one of many NJ casinos accepting PayPal. Even though the sport has had a presence in the country since 1996, it has only managed to produce seven VFL/AFL players. Below, we look at some of the reasons why.  

No Tradition and Sport Exposure

For someone to be proficient in a specific sport, that person has to start playing it when he/she is young to evolve the necessary range of motion, spatial awareness, and other aspects the activity requires. There are few, if any, examples of athletes crossing over from one sport to another, at a very high level.

Since Aussie football has no tradition in the US, and since it was seldom on TV, people in the nation weren’t even aware of its existence. No one played the game as a child, there are no school programs, and no experienced coaches to pass along knowledge. Thus, it’s difficult for players to transition to a new sport at an advanced age, despite their athletic prowess.

American Football is the Number One Sport in the US

At first sight, Australian rules football and rugby seem similar, even though everything is different. From the length of the field and the game itself to the number of players and substitutions. That said, it is undeniable that these two are associated with one another. Another closely related sport is American Football.

There is no doubt that American football is the most popular sport in the US, with 100 million people watching the Super Bowl each year. Therefore, Americans have something similar that provides exposure and salary levels that do not compare with what’s available in the AFL. They also have youth leagues where they can compete in American football from the age of eleven. Thus, they have little motivation to gravitate toward a thing that is less popular and less paid. 

US Growth in Recent Times

In June of 2020, the AFL returned to US screens via ESPN, as the sports broadcaster agreed to a deal to cover the remainder of the 2020 season. Providing one live match per week on a television channel, and another through its streaming service.

Before this deal, amidst the 2020 global crisis, with most sports leagues on standby, the AFL was an active one that sports fans could enjoy. Fox Sports One took advantage and started broadcasting games. Stunned that live sports are happening somewhere, Americans glued their eyes to their screen and took to Twitter, as Australian rules football began trending, and has seen a noticeable rise in popularity ever since.