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With its star manager Brisbane Roar tops A-League supporters, while highly trusted W-League draws substantial audience

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, Oct. 2017 – Sep. 2018, n=15,009 and Oct. 2018 – Sep. 2019, n=13,744. Base: Australians 14+. *Wellington Phoenix support only includes Australian-based supporters.
New research from Roy Morgan shows that Brisbane Roar outdid southern rivals to top the Roy Morgan A-League supporter ladder, with 523,000 fans. Support for the Roar is up 96,000 (+22.5 per cent) on a year ago; high-profile English star player turned manager Robbie Fowler was appointed to helm the team in April.

Defending champions Sydney FC were second in fan support, on 444,000 supporters; down significantly on a year ago as delayed stadium construction leaves the club without a dedicated home ground for a second year.

Melbourne Victory is again Victoria’s leading club, and third nationally in terms of support, with 413,000 fans. However, the 2018 trophy-winners Perth Glory had the largest percentage increase, adding 94,000 supporters following their first Premiership, an impressive increase of 36.2 per cent on a year ago.

Other clubs to experience an increase in support include Adelaide United with 340,000 supporters (up 19.3 per cent), Melbourne City on 178,000 (up 21.9 per cent) and Central Coast Mariners on 123,000 (up 23 per cent). The increases will be welcome news for the sport’s administrators, who have dealt with dropping game attendances in recent years.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says, “In Australia’s competitive sporting market, fighting for the attention of fans is an ongoing challenge as the consistent decline in A-League attendances since 2014 shows. Tapping into the widespread interest in football that emerges when national teams the Matildas and Socceroos play is vital for clubs to build support and grow their attendances. This is especially important for new clubs Western United and, as of 2020, Macarthur FC.

“Another sure-fire method to boost coverage and supporter interest is a high-profile recruit. The Brisbane Roar’s decision to hire ‘Liverpool legend’ Robbie Fowler as their new manager has paid immediate dividends, with support for the Roar soaring to levels not seen since their last championship.

“On-field success also pays off, of course. So it’s no surprise to see the three most successful clubs on-field also topping the Roy Morgan A-League supporter ladder.”

Meanwhile, the biggest news in Australian football this month has been Football Federation Australia’s landmark decision to give Australia’s men’s and women’s national football teams the Matildas and Socceroos equal pay. The Matildas have outperformed the Socceroos at recent international competitions, including making the FIFA Women’s World Cup Quarter-Finals at three successive tournaments in 2007, 2011 and 2015. The Socceroos have never progressed past the Round of 16 at a World Cup.

The impact of Women’s sport is growing and Michele Levine says Roy Morgan’s extensive research into sport explains why: “Roy Morgan’s TV viewership results comparing the W-League side-by-side with the A-League show there is a substantial audience for the Women’s League, despite a relative lack of promotion compared to its male counterpart. TV viewership of the W-League of 760,000 is around 40% of the viewership of the A-League at 1.9 million.

“Along with the Matildas’ success, a key driver of this increasing interest in Women’s Sport, and Women’s Football in particular, is the very positive and trustworthy image Australians have of it.

“Women’s Sport rates consistently higher than men’s sport on Roy Morgan’s Net Trust Score. Survey respondents consider Women’s Football has a ‘good reputation’, ‘few scandals’, ‘genuine people running it’, ‘very respectful and professional’ and that Women’s Footballers are ‘not full of themselves’, ‘have good on and off field behaviour’, ‘believe in fair play’ and are ‘inclusive and powerful role models’,”
says Ms. Levine.

A-League Club Supporter Ladder 2019
A-League Club Supporter Ladder 2019
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, Oct. 2017 – Sep. 2018, n=15,009 and Oct. 2018 – Sep. 2019, n=13,744. Base: Australians 14+. *Wellington Phoenix support only includes Australian-based supporters.

One in 10 Australians watch either the A-League or W-League on TV


In total, more than 2 million Australians watch either the men’s A-League or the women’s W-League on TV. This includes an impressive 760,000 watching the women’s game, meaning that well over a third of the Australians who watch domestic football (soccer) on TV now watch the W-League. This is the first time Roy Morgan has released TV viewership figures for the W-League.

TV viewership of the A-League is highest for Gen X (12%); 9% of Baby Boomers and 8% of Gen Z, Millennials and Pre-Boomers watch the A-League on TV. Viewership of the W-League is higher among older age groups, with 6% of Baby Boomers and 5% of Gen X and Pre-Boomers watching it on TV, compared to only 2% of Millennials and 1% of Gen Z watching.

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2