August 08, 2019

Distrust is highest for Cricket a year after ‘sandpaper gate’

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 8082
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Australian distrust in Cricket is higher than any other sport a year after the ball-tampering scandal engulfed the Australian men’s cricket team and led to the suspensions of senior players.

Joining Cricket with high levels of distrust are Rugby League/NRL, Aussie Rules/AFL, Horse Racing, Rugby Union, Soccer, Boxing, Tennis, Cycling and Greyhound Racing from research conducted in June 2019.

Distrust in Cricket soared in the wake of ‘sandpaper gate’ and Cricket remains one of the leading sports with a negative Net Trust Score according to the latest Roy Morgan Sports Net Trust Score survey.

Although Cricket continues to have high distrust there is some good news. Women’s Cricket continues to provide a boost to the overall image of the sport with higher trust than distrust.

In addition the overall Net Trust Score for Cricket as well as for Rugby League/NRL, Aussie Rules/AFL, Soccer and Boxing have all improved compared to a year ago. 

Australia played its first game in Cricket’s World Cup on the first day of June and the sport’s administrators will be hoping a run to the World Cup semi-final in early July and the successful start to the Ashes defence early this week will provide a boost to the team’s image – and trustworthiness.

Australians sports ranked by Distrust – June 2019

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source – Sports Net Trust Score survey; June 2019 n=1,257.
Base: Australians aged 18+ who answered Trust OR Distrust; June 2019 n=1,217.

Sport improves overall Net Trust Score in 2019 compared to a year ago

Although the aforementioned sports do have high distrust there is more positive news for sports in general with the overall Sport Net Trust Score improving from a negative to a positive overall position.

Several high-scoring sports managed to improve their Net Trust Scores during the last 12 months. Tennis, Golf, Hockey, Lawn Bowls/Bowling, Surfing and Car racing all improved their already trusted positions from 2018 to 2019.

Although not appearing in the top 10 two of the major football codes also have positive Net Trust Scores in mid-2019 with both Aussie Rules/AFL and Soccer performing well with higher trust than distrust.

Leading Sport Net Trust Scores or NTS (distrust score subtracted from trust score):

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source – Sports Net Trust Score survey; April 2018 n=1,100, June 2019 n=1,257.Base: Australians aged 18+ who answered Trust OR Distrust; April 2018 n=1,100, June 2019 n=1,217. 

Michele Levine, Roy Morgan CEO, said Distrust in Australian Cricket soared following last year’s ball-tampering scandal and the sport is yet to fully recover:

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“Roy Morgan’s Sport Net Trust Score survey closely monitors the perceptions of sports in the Australian marketplace and this year’s results show that events that drive levels of distrust in particular can linger and damage sports for significant periods of time.

“Distrust in Australian Cricket has remained high more than a year after Australia’s two most senior players Captain Steve Smith and Vice-Captain David Warner were suspended for 12 months for their part in the ‘sandpaper gate’ ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

“Although their suspensions for bringing the game into disrepute concluded in March, Cricket still has a perception problem to overcome with distrust in Australian Cricket far exceeding trust.

“Distrust is a key driver of perceptions and can prove exceedingly damaging to a sport’s commercial prospects if not addressed directly and consistently. Scandals are one of the key drivers of distrust in professional sports, other drivers include too great a focus on money and the influence of gambling.

“Cricket Australia will be hoping that a run to the World Cup semi-finals and a successful Ashes defence will rebuild trust in the sport as we head towards another summer of Cricket. In addition, Australia is set to host the 2020 Twenty20 World Cups for both women and men next year.

“A positive story to emerge over the past year is provided by the improvements in the ratings for both Aussie Rules/AFL and Soccer. Both football codes now have positive Net Trust Scores in 2019 and have been boosted by high trust in their respective Women’s competitions.

“The AFLW this year expanded the size of its competition to 10 clubs, with a further 4 clubs set to be added in 2020, and drew a record crowd for a standalone Women’s sporting match of over 53,000 for the AFLW Grand Final between Adelaide and Carlton at the Adelaide Oval in March.

“Women’s Soccer in Australia has also had a high-profile 12 months. The Women’s National Football team the Matildas has performed well and enjoyed a wave of support and positive media coverage early in 2019 as they prepared to compete in the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup held in France.

“The high Net Trust Scores for both the AFLW and Women’s Soccer shows that with the right mix of engagement, excitement, success and positive role-models such as two-time AFLW Best & Fairest winner Erin Phillips and Matildas striker Sam Kerr, a sport can elevate itself in the public consciousness and build a level of trust that creates a positive feedback loop between the sport, its clients (the supporters) and its corporate partners.”

Michele Levine – direct: 03 9224 5215 | mobile: 0411 129 093 |

More information on the suite of products available via the Roy Morgan Single Source and the psychographic segmentation tools provided by Roy Morgan Helix Personas is available at or by visiting the Roy Morgan Online Store.

Roy Morgan’s Net Trust Score

After almost two years of continuous research on trust and distrust Roy Morgan’s approach to calculating the Net Trust Score has been enhanced in July 2019 to remove the variability and impact of brand awareness on the Net Trust Score measure. As a result of this enhancement, Net Trust Scores and rankings reported prior to July 2019 are not directly comparable with those reported from July 2019 onwards. Trust and distrust calculations and results remain consistent with those previously reported, and therefore remain directly comparable.

Respondents for the Net Trust Score surveys are drawn from the Roy Morgan consumer panel of almost 700,000 Australians previously interviewed in their own homes and invited to participate in future research. The latest Net Trust Score Report is available from Roy Morgan, and provides details of which brands are gaining or losing ground, key drivers and reasons for trust and distrust analysed by generations, states, gender, and more.

For comments or more information please contact:
Roy Morgan - Enquiries
Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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