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8 insanely popular sports that are rarely played in the U.S.

By: Josh Lew on July 2, 2014, 10:35 a.m.
Aussie rules football

Photo: Michael_Spencer/Flickr

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Australian rules football

Called “footie” or “Aussie rules” colloquially, this unusual game is played in front of sizable crowds in Australia. Everything about this sport is big. Each side has 18 players on the field during a game. The playing surface reaches nearly 200 yards in length and 150 yards in width in the largest stadiums. The championship of the AFL, Australia's top professional league, is the most attended club sport championship in the world. It has averaged more than 110,000 tickets sold in each of the past few years.

Aussie rules has elements of rugby, soccer, American football, volleyball and even basketball. During play, the ball cannot be passed; it has to be advanced by kicking, dribbling or hitting it with an open hand. The main method of scoring is by kicking the ball through the goal posts, with an option to take fewer points by propelling the ball through a set of wider, shorter posts.