BY FRANK SEAL | SEN
Taking up our great game at 23 years old, Mason Cox has grown into the most successful American to ever grace Aussie Rules turf.
Standing 211 cm and boasting a nice NCAA division 1 basketball career in college, matching up on superstars like NBA MVP Joel Embiid, Cox would eventually take his large frame and American swagger to the footy field.
He debuted on the grandest of all stages, ANZAC Day, in front of 85,000 at the MCG, where within 90 seconds of play, he marked and goaled with his first touch in the big time, sending the Magpie army wild. This would not be the only time.
Now a premiership Pie and reaching the twilight of his playing days, 32-year-old Cox is forging his post-career passion, expanding the AFL audience to U.S soil.
Speaking with Gerard Whateley during the Boxing Day Test on SEN Cricket, Cox shared this passion for the Australian game and his experience filming an interview for 60 minutes US.
“That would have probably reached 20-30 million people… almost the population of Australia,” he said.
“That’s a massive piece for people just to get interested.
“We’re such a diverse world of people from all different walks of life and different places that you can find fans anywhere in the world that will support whatever sport they have.”
With the rival NRL competition hosting round one of their season in Las Vegas, calls for the our code to follow suit may confront Andrew Dillon and the AFL house in the very near future.
“Hopefully the AFL at some point makes that commitment,” Cox added after raising the NRL experiment.
“Hopefully at some point in my life or maybe post my career I could help make that happen.”
There is obviously much potential to grow the game exponentially with an American audience, the USA being home to over 330 million people, many of which share the love of sport that unites millions of Australians.
“If you get 1% of the population of America to care about AFL it’s more than the whole population of Melbourne,” Cox added.
“It’s a huge ability to make some kind of financial income for the AFL and hopefully they can realise that.”
Cox has played 113 AFL games across his career for the Magpies, spanning eight seasons and culminating in the 2023 AFL premiership.