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Sydney FC is the most widely supported A-League club as support rises for the league overall

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2019 – June 2020, n=54,279 and July 2020 – June 2021, n=64,973. Base: Australians 14+. *Wellington Phoenix support only includes Australian-based supporters. Macarthur FC is a new club which played its first A-League game in December 2020.
New research from Roy Morgan shows Sydney FC topping the 2021 Roy Morgan A-League supporter ladder with 640,000 fans, an increase of 32.2% on a year ago. Sydney FC has been the most successful club in the A-League Men with 5 Championships including winning three out of the last five in 2016-17, 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Close behind in second place are traditional rivals Melbourne Victory with 632,000 supporters, an increase of 46% on a year ago. The Victory have been the second most successful club in the A-League Men winning 4 Championships with their most recent win in the 2017-18 season.

In third place on the supporter ladder is the Brisbane Roar with 559,000 supporters, an increase of 17.9% on a year ago. The Roar have won 3 A-League Men Championships but have not tasted success in the Grand Final for over seven years since winning in 2013/14.

The current A-League Men Champions Melbourne City experienced a significant increase in supporters compared to a year ago, up 50.9% to 249,000, while the biggest percentage increase was for the resurgent Central Coast Mariners, up 90.1% to 154,000 supporters. Newcomers Macarthur FC have attracted an impressive 84,000 supporters during their first season to rank tenth overall.

A-League Club Supporter Ladder 2021

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2019 – June 2020, n=54,279 and July 2020 – June 2021, n=64,973. Base: Australians 14+. *Wellington Phoenix support only includes Australian-based supporters. Macarthur FC is a new club which played its first A-League game in December 2020.

Over 3.6 million Australians now support an A-League club, up over 1 million on a year ago

Support for the A-League as a whole has increased strongly over the last year as new clubs Macarthur FC and Western United have joined the league and Australians have dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic and spending a lot of time at home in front of the TV. Now over 3.6 million Australians support an A-League club, up over 1 million (+38.3%) on a year ago.

In total, over 1.5 million Australians (7.2%) watch the A-League Men on TV. However, a much larger 3.5 million (16.7%) have watched any soccer match on TV. This means a significant untapped market of around 2 million Australians is available for the A-League, in the shape of those who exclusively watch international leagues or international tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup.

A look at who engages with the A-League Men shows TV viewership is highest for Gen X (8.1%) ahead of Pre-Boomers (7.8%), Baby Boomers (7.4%) and 7.1% of Millennials. When it comes to attending a soccer match however, Millennials lead the way at 4.5%, followed by Gen Z at 3.7%.

Roy Morgan Industry Communications Director Julian McCrann says:

“A-League clubs have enjoyed a substantial increase in support over the last year in line with the increases seen for other football codes such as the AFL and NRL. Over 3.6 million Australians now profess support for an A-League club, an increase of over 1 million (+38.3%) on a year ago.

“As we have seen across other football codes the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many sports to be played in front of empty stadiums but live on TV to supporters stuck at home in the many lockdowns we have seen over the last 18 months around Australia.

“The biggest winners have been the most successful A-League clubs Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory – both of whom have increased their supporter bases by over 150,000 compared to a year ago. Sydney FC grew their support by 32.2% to 640,000 to be just ahead of Melbourne Victory with 632,000 supporters, an increase of 46%. 

Sydney FC has won 5 A-League Men Championships, including three in the last five years (2016-17, 2018-19 & 2019-20), while Melbourne Victory are in second place with 4 A-League Men Championships including their most recent win in 2017-18.

“Another big winner over the last year has been Melbourne City which won its first A-League Men Championship earlier this year after defeating Sydney FC in the Grand Final (between Melbourne’s fourth and fifth lockdowns) in late June. Melbourne City’s support has increased by an impressive 50.9% on a year ago to 249,000 to have the highest support of any A-League Men expansion team.

“The newest club in the A-League Men, Macarthur FC, has had a successful first season in the league with a finals appearance, a victory in an Elimination Final, and a loss to eventual Champions Melbourne City in the semi-final. Not only has Macarthur FC performed strongly on the pitch but they have already attracted 84,000 supporters to rank in tenth place overall.

“Looking ahead, the challenge for the A-League will be to continue to grow the league in an increasingly competitive sporting market and find a way to connect with the millions of Australians who love their football but don’t presently engage with the A-League. There are over 2 million Australians out there who watch high quality football competitions, such as the English Premier League, who are yet to become fans of the A-League. This at-hand market of 2 million Australians is a significant market for the A-League to target during the recovery from Covid-19.”

View our range of A-League Supporter Profiles.

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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