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Melbourne Demons fans the most dedicated AFL supporters

Melbourne Demons fans the most dedicated AFL supporters
March 26, 2017

With the 2017 AFL season having kicked off, newly released findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal which team’s supporters are most likely to attend an AFL match in person, which fans tune into match broadcasts on TV, and which display less commitment to viewing and/or watching their team in action.

Among proportions of fans who go to games, Melbourne Demons fans (48.7%) are more likely than other teams’ fans to go to a match while, despite their team winning the Grand Final in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Hawthorn supporters don’t rank among those most inclined to attend matches – with theire attendance declining year on year.

Attending AFL matches: the league’s five most - and five least - engaged supporters by team

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2016 (n=14,330). Base: Australians 14+

As for fans of last year’s Premiers, the Western Bulldogs, their match attendance rate for 2016 put them seventh out of 18 teams’ supporters.

In 2016, just over 6.2 million Australians aged 14+ (or 31.5% of the population) reported that they ‘almost always or occasionally watch’ regular season AFL on TV. Among AFL supporters this figure is obviously much higher, peaking with fans of North Melbourne Kangaroos (77.5%) and Port Adelaide Power (77.1%). Least likely to watch regular-season matches are supporters of the Brisbane Lions (46.9%) and Sydney Swans (52.9%).

The Grand Final attracts more TV viewers than any other AFL broadcast, with 6.7 million Aussies (33.8% of the population) tuning in. This puts it ahead of One Day International Cricket (32.6%), the Australian Open Tennis (31.9%), Test match cricket (31.8%) and the NRL State of Origin (30.4%). (Only the less frequent Olympics (45.6%) and the Commonwealth Games (36.1%) are more popular.)

Overall, Port Adelaide Power supporters are the most likely to watch AFL broadcasts of any kind, with nearly nine in every 10 of them watching matches almost always or occasionally throughout the year (more than double the population average of 39.2%).

Just as they do for live matches, Brisbane Lions supporters are least likely to view any AFL TV broadcasts (60.8%): in fact, more of them (70.6%) watch NRL on TV than AFL.

Watching AFL on TV: the league’s five most - and five least - engaged supporters by team

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2016 (n=14,330). Base: Australians 14+

AFL Women’s
While it’s too early to say whether any team’s supporters are especially dedicated to tuning in for the new AFL Women’s competition, Roy Morgan data for February 2017 indicates that 11.5% of Australians - or 2.3 million people - have been watching the women’s league on TV - rising to 28.7% of AFL supporters.

Commenting on the findings, Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, explains “it’s interesting to compare how engaged different teams’ supporters are when it comes to watching the footy on TV and attending matches.

“Port Adelaide and North Melbourne fans set a high standard: not only are they more likely than other teams’ supporters to watch AFL broadcasts, but they are also in the top five for match attendance.

“Naturally, AFL supporters outstrip the population average for watching and attending matches, but even then, levels of engagement vary dramatically. For example, three of the five teams with the highest proportion of supporters who attend matches are Victorian, which makes sense, considering that far more matches are held in Victoria than any other state. Conversely, three of the five teams whose supporters are most likely to tune in to TV broadcasts are from states other than Victoria.

“Supporters of the two Queensland AFL teams are noteworthy for the fact that more of them watch the NRL on TV than the AFL, as do GWS Giants fans - confirming that the NRL still reigns supreme in these relatively recent AFL states. Sydney Swans supporters are the exception, being fractionally more likely to watch AFL broadcasts than NRL.

“Knowing which team’s supporters are most likely to watch AFL - whether it’s the pre-season series, regular season, finals series or Grand Final - on TV is a useful starting point for brands considering advertising during broadcasts as it provides an initial understanding of their potential audience.” 

22nd March 2017 - MCG SET TO BREAK CROWD ATTENDANCE RECORDS

17th February 2017 - RISING COSTS SEE AFL RECORD $17.8 MILLION LOSS IN 2016 

31st January 2017 - 2017 SPORTS FAN SUMMIT RETURNS TO THE MCG 

24th March 2016 - MCG OFFERS WORLD-CLASS CONNECTIVITY TO AFL FANS

4th January 2016 - AFL CLAIMS MASSIVE GROWTH IN PARTICIPATION IN 2015

27th August 2015 - AFL ANNOUNCES RECORD CLUB MEMBERSHIP FIGURES

3rd March 2015 - RESEARCH REVEALS THE SOCIAL VALUE OF A FOOTBALL CLUB 

22nd August 2014 - AFL PUTS THE FOCUS ON FANS

22nd March 2013 - MORE TO AFL SUPPORTERS THAN FOOTY 

8th October 2012 - GEMBA TO COMPLETE MOORABBIN OVAL FOOTBALL HUB FEASIBILITY STUDY


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However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

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