Brazil might lay claim to loving the game more than any other but such is the progress of the A-League this season that its average attendances are now higher than for the top division in the world's most famous football nation.
After four rounds, the A-League is already averaging crowds of 15,460, above the average of matches in the Brasileirao last season, which equated to 14,693.
That's an extraordinary stat considering Brazil's league boasts globally famous - and now financially powerful - clubs such as Corinthians, Flamengo, Sao Paulo, Vasco da Gama and Santos. The country also has more than 170 million more residents than Australia.
Should the A-League maintain its early-season speed, it remains on track to beat attendances in Turkey, Scotland, Russia, Belgium, Korea and Portugal. At the moment, it is the 14th most attended league in world football.
It is 4000 people away from a spot deep in the top 10, with the Dutch Eredivisie being the world's sixth most attended league.
The A-League is nowhere near the world's top three leagues, the English Premier League, Spain's La Liga and the world's most-attended, Germany's Bundesliga, with a staggering average of 45,726.
Just 12 months ago, the A-League was lagging in 24th place, a result of plateauing interest and the inclusion of Gold Coast United, who frequently pulled in crowds of less than 3000 a match.
The early-season gains have been attributed to the inclusion of three world-famous marquee players.
"There's no doubt the marquee players Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono have ignited massive interest in the A-League," said outgoing FFA chief executive Ben Buckley. "I congratulate the clubs involved for making the investment in these star players.''
While Major League Soccer in the US is the eighth most-attended league in the world, boasting an average of 18,828 attendees, the A-League's crowds are higher than the MLS's at the same time in its development, after eight seasons.
Also, 11 per cent more members have signed up for this season than for all of last season. Three teams - Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne Victory - are set to boast more than 10,000 members each.
The A-League has also proven a winner on pay television, where it is exclusively broadcast by Fox Sports, averaging 94,969 viewers a game so far. The round two match between Sydney and Newcastle at the Sydney Football Stadium drew a league-record 164,367 viewers.
Buckley said the league's 'We Are Football' marketing campaign had ''really connected the 1.7 million participants at the grassroots to the great things happening in the A-League'' and flagged further increases in the competition's popularity.
''Stability remains our top priority, but I can see sustained growth ahead for the A-League," he said.
Ticket sales for Saturday night's match between Central Coast and Sydney FC are on track to be the Mariners' best crowd of the season.
Average crowds for football leagues around the world*
1. German Bundesliga 45,726
2. English Premier League 34,601
3. Spanish La Liga 30,272
5. Italian Serie A 23,459
8. US MLS 18,828
13. Japanese J-League 17,022
14. Hyundai A-League 15,460
15. Brazilian Brasilierao 14,693
17. Scottish Premier League 13,826
21. Korean K-League 11,634
Note: European and South American figures are for the 2011-2012 season.
* Source: ESPNsoccernet
- Sydney Morning Herald