It was largely seen as nothing more than a cash grab by a lot of people when it started, and also Packer didn't endear himself to a lot of people with his approach, despite what the series showed you. Back in that era commercial networks didn't go to regional areas either, so some people saw it as depriving country people from seeing the game (Personally that doesn't worry me. If you want to live with fly blown sheep that's a matter for you, but the point stands - it annoyed people). Plus, Australia were beating India in the establishment test series. The following year the Poms came out and Australia got smashed, which turned a lot of people off.
Also keep in mind it was the first real foray into full time professional team-based sport here. In the 70s, Rugby League and Aussie Rules players were still working full time then training afterwards.
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