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Cars and AFL: a match made in sponsorship heaven?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), February 2013-January 2014. Base: Australians 14+ who intend to purchase a new car in next 4 years & support AFL club (n=1,062).
With Toyota as its premier partner, and the majority of its teams being sponsored by car brands, the AFL could almost be called the Automotive Football League. But are footy fans any likelier than the average Australian to be in the market for a new car? Are the AFL’s numerous automotive sponsors getting good ROI? Roy Morgan Research investigates…

As of January 2014, 2,355,000 Australians aged 14+ were intending to buy a new car in the next four years — with 1,055,000 (or 44.8%) of them being AFL supporters. That represents a hefty swathe of the population 14+ (13.9%) being exposed to automotive sponsors in one way or another: via signage at matches and seen on TV broadcasts, on team websites and players’ jerseys, and so on.

In good news for Sydney Swans sponsor Volkswagen, 188,000 (or 16.1%) of the team’s supporters are planning to buy a new car in the next four years. With well over one million Australians counting themselves as Sydney supporters, the team has the largest fan-base in the country, so it makes sense that they’d have the most new car intenders in terms of sheer numbers.

Proportion of each AFL team’s supporters who intend to buy a new car in next 4 years


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), February 2013-January 2014. Base: Australians 14+ who intend to purchase a new car in next 4 years & support AFL club (n=1,062).

While Melbourne Demons may have fewer supporters (182,000) than most AFL teams, they top the list with the highest proportion of supporters (21.5%) in the market for a new car — 76% more likely than the average Aussie — a statistic no doubt appreciated by their sponsor AHG, a nationwide network of automotive dealerships. (Somehow, we doubt it eases the pain of being so low on the ladder, though…)

Other teams with supporters who outstrip the national average in terms of new car intention are Richmond (sponsored by Jeep/40% more likely), Geelong (sponsored by Ford/26% more likely) and Brisbane (sponsored by Hyundai/38% more likely).

Although fans of Greater Western Sydney and Western Bulldogs are respectively 21% and 16% more likely than the average Australian to be new car intenders, neither team currently has an automotive sponsor. Is that the sound of opportunity knocking?

Jordan Pakes, Group Account Director — Automotive, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Sponsorship of sporting teams is one of the many ways brands look to either raise or maintain awareness and attempt to engage potential or current consumers. Auto brands pay big money for AFL sponsorship, and not surprisingly they are after maximum ROI for their investment.

“Some teams have a higher proportion of new car intenders among their supporter base than others; so provided there is a sensible fit between the brand and supporters this should be a good thing from a new sales perspective.

 “For brands looking to sponsor a club, understanding what kind of people make up the different supporter bases is crucial. Two high-profile teams without an auto brand sponsor are Hawthorn and Fremantle. When looking at the Helix Personas profile of both teams’ supporter bases, Progressive Thinkers (Persona 109) feature prominently on both lists, accounting for close to 10% of Fremantle’s total supporters.

“Progressive Thinkers are almost 20% more likely than the average Australian to be in the market for a new car over the next four years. In terms of which brands they’re after (and which brands don’t currently sponsor a team), Subaru and BMW would be a potentially strong fit.”

For comments or more information please contact:

Jordan Pakes,  Group Account Director, Automotive
Office: +61 (3) 9224 5302

Related research findings

Purchase our latest detailed Roy Morgan Automotive Currency Report to learn more about automotive intentions for the different vehicle types. This report covers intentions to purchase new vehicles, future brand intentions and recent sales, loyalty and satisfaction, brand health, automotive attitudes, car servicing and use of the internet for vehicle related content. Brands are reported individually within three distinct groups: Local Manufacturers (Toyota, Holden and Ford), Mid Volume Importers (Mazda, Mitsubishi, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Volkswagen and Hyundai) and Luxury Brands (BMW, Mercedes Benz, Audi and Lexus).

Purchase from our extensive and detailed range of Roy Morgan new car intender profiles by make, model and segment covering brands like Honda, BMW, Holden, Mazda, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Volkswagen.

View our comprehensive range of AFL Supporter profiles.

About Roy Morgan Research

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

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

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


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%