While many books have looked at one or other of the four professional football codes in Australia, none has so far considered all four of them together and in the context of one of the most competitive sports environments in the world. 'Code Wars' does just that.
It looks at Australia's relationship with 'football' in all its guises - Australian Rules, rugby league, rugby and association football or soccer - and explores the cut throat cultural and commercial competition between the codes. It looks at the key historical moments that have shaped the four codes, explores the modern sport landscape, and considers what the future may hold at a time of great uncertainty shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
'Code Wars' is for those whose interest in football extends beyond the scoreboard to that which occurs off the field.
It does not attempt to say which code is 'best', but presents the issues with a detachment underpinned by data from the author's PhD dissertation, augmented by other research, as well as interviews with experts associated with all codes.
Hunter Fujak balances opinion with evidence while also maintaining balance and objectivity from his perspective as a scholar and industry expert.
'Code Wars - The Battle for Fans, Dollars and Survival' is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the sports landscape in Australia, and the past, present and potential of each of the four football codes.
Hunter Fujak is a Lecturer in Sports Management at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia.
His PhD explored sport consumer behaviour, specifically in understanding consumption patterns within Australia's crowded sport marketplace.He has previously worked in sport consultancy as an audience and sponsorship analyst for Australasia's largest sporting leagues and events, including the Australian Open Tennis, Rugby World Cup and National Rugby League.
He has also previously been engaged in market research consultancy for some of Australia's leading brands, including Telstra, Sportsbet, Foxtel and Woolworths.
Hunter has published extensively across sport broadcasting, consumer behaviour and sport culture, and is a regular media contributor to topics pertaining to the business of Australian football.
Part 1: Today
1.1 The Art of (Football) War
1.2 Australia's crowded, 'sport mad' market
1.3 The battlelines of Australia's code wars
1.4 Locating Australia's sport capital
1.5 The curious case of Sydney
1.6 The AFL's great northern incursion
1.7 The state of play
Part 2: Yesterday
2.1 In the beginning
2.2 Hybrid games
2.3 The 'sleeping giant'
2.4 Rugby union: Has professionalism been worthwhile?
2.5 Super League and the knee-capping of rugby league
Part 3: Tomorrow
3.1 Urbanisation and generational change in junior participation
3.2 Safetyism, CTE and the demise of contact football
3.3 Globalisation and the sleeping giant
3.4 Rugby league: a century of bad business
3.5 Rugby union: the game now mostly played in heaven
3.6 Culture war and the unassailable rise of Victorian rules football
Glossary of Terms