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Research identifies Sydney Swans as the most widely supported AFL club

Research identifies Sydney Swans as the most widely supported AFL club
September 22, 2017

Roy Morgan Research has identified that the Sydney Swans continue to be the AFL’s best supported club, with 1.204 million supporters, an increase of 104,000 (+9.5%) since their 2016 AFL Grand Final appearance.

A rejuvenated Essendon were the most widely supported Victorian club with 671,000 supporters, an increase of 127,000 (+23.3%) on 2016 when Essendon had 18 of their players banned from taking part due to supplement abuse finished bottom of the ladder for the first time since 1933.

Traditional Victorian powerhouse Collingwood slipped to fourth on the supporter ladder with 663,000 supporters, losing 117,000 supporters (-11.6%), and falling below their traditional ANZAC Day rivals for the first time since 2007 after coach Nathan Buckley led the team to a fourth successive year without finals action.

Premiership drought-breakers the Western Bulldogs have far fewer supporters than their vanquished opponents with 247,000 - virtually unchanged on a year ago. The Bulldogs disappointing year on-field is clear evidence that Premiership hangovers after drought-breaking Flags are a real phenomenon.

Commenting on the findings Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman of Roy Morgan Research stated “the Sydney Swans have retained their standing as Australia’s most widely supported AFL team for the 13th straight year with over 1.2 million supporters putting the ‘Bloods’ over half-a-million supporters ahead of any other club.

“Victoria’s top club is Essendon with 671,000 supporters following a ‘year from hell’ in 2016 in which 18 players were suspended for the entire year and the Bombers plunged to their first Wooden Spoon as the competition’s worst performed team for over 80 years.

“The ‘Big 4’ of the AFL is rounded out by the West Coast Eagles with 669,000 supporters and set to play their next game in the brand new 60,000 capacity Perth Stadium in 2018 which should provide a huge boost to Eagles memberships, and the bottom line, and what is often regarded the ‘most hated club’ in the AFL, Collingwood, with 663,000 supporters.

AFL Club Supporter Ladder 2017

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2016 – June 2017.n=14,544. Base: Australians 14+.

Conversion of Supporters to Members shows Premiers Western Bulldogs on top
Although it is no surprise to see the traditionally well-supported clubs at the top of the overall AFL club supporter ladder, a key metric for AFL clubs is their ability to convert their latent support into paying memberships that directly benefit the clubs.

On this measure it is reigning Premiers the Western Bulldogs which has been the most successful in converting supporters to paying memberships with 19.3% of Western Bulldogs supporters buying a membership in 2017.

Other clubs to have high conversion rates include Melbourne which converts 18.4% of supporters to members, Port Adelaide which converts 17.5% of supporters to members, and 2017 ‘Cinderella’ team Richmond which is playing in its first Preliminary Final in 16 years this weekend and converts an impressive 16.4% of supporters to members.

Morgan adds “in terms of passion - Victoria remains the beating heart of the AFL with nearly three million supporters buying just under 570,000 AFL club memberships in 2017 - a conversion rate of 19.3% of supporters to members ahead of South Australia (13.8% of supporters become members) and Western Australia (10.1%).

“These high conversion rates underpin the strong attendances of the AFL. In 2017 there are 7,757,000 supporters of an AFL club around Australia and this week the AFL is set to break the all-time attendance record set in 2010 (7,146,738) for an AFL season during the Preliminary Final between Richmond and the GWS Giants on Saturday night.

"Overall AFL attendance so far in 2017 of 7,039,784 - only the fifth year in history that more than 7 million supporters have attended AFL matches, means a combined crowd this weekend of 107,000 will be enough to set a new mark – with an extra 100,000 expected next weekend for the Grand Final further increasing the overall figure.”

Main image shows the Sydney Swans at the SCG.

7th September 2017 - AFL BREAKS HOME-AND-AWAY SEASON ATTENDANCE RECORD 

6th September 2017 - AFL URGES FANS TO AVOID MAKING FINALS SERIES TICKET PURCHASES THROUGH VIAGOGO 

30th August 2017 - RICHMOND ATTRACTS AFL’S BIGGEST CROWD NUMBERS THROUGH 2017 SEASON

10th August 2017 - AFL ON TARGET TO BREAK 6.5 MILLION ATTENDANCE RECORD 

8th August 2017 - MELBOURNE FOOTBALL CLUB PARTNERS WITH SPORTSHOSTS TO DRIVE FAN ENGAGEMENT 

1st August 2017 - SYDNEY’S MOORE PARK PRECINCT WELCOMES MORE THAN 1.85 MILLION FANS IN PAST YEAR 

25th July 2017 - SYDNEY SWANS ANNOUNCE SUCCESSION PLAN FOR NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENT

18th April 2017 - AFL TO ALLOCATE MORE GRAND FINAL TICKETS TO CLUBS 

28th March 2017 - ARU REJECTS ROY MORGAN FINDINGS ON RUGBY PARTICIPATION

26th March 2017 - MELBOURNE DEMONS FANS THE MOST DEDICATED AFL SUPPORTERS 

23rd March 2017 - MASSIVE DECLINE IN AUSTRALIANS’ PARTICIPATION IN RUGBY, SQUASH AND TENPIN BOWLING 


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