Roy Morgan Research
September 26, 2023

Melbourne Storm is again the most widely supported club in the NRL in 2023 while Parramatta is on top in Sydney

Topic: Public Opinion
Finding No: 9338

The latest data from Roy Morgan shows the total NRL supporter base has grown strongly from a year ago to over one-in-three Australians. In 2023 now 7.2 million Australians (33.5%), up a stunning 11.7% from a year ago, support an NRL team. The increase is even more impressive, up by over 2 million (+39.2%) compared to four years ago pre-pandemic in 2019.

The Melbourne Storm have again topped the ladder as the most widely supported NRL club in 2023 with 1,197,000 supporters, an increase of 34,000 (+2.9%) on a year ago to just edge out a resurgent Brisbane Broncos in second place with 1,150,000 supporters, up 94,000 (+8.9%) in a year. The Broncos have had their most successful home and away season for over two decades this year finishing in second place with 18 wins.

The most widely supported Sydney-based club is again the Parramatta Eels with 594,000 supporters, up a stunning 138,000 (+30.3%) on a year ago – the largest increase of any NRL club. The spike in support for the Eels came after the club reached the 2022 NRL Grand Final – its first decider for 14 years since 2009.

The two-time reigning NRL Premiers the Penrith Panthers have experienced another increase in support and now have a supporter base of 359,000, up 35,000 (+10.8%) on a year ago. The Panthers support has increased by a ‘whopping’ 122,000 (+51.5%) compared to two years ago – the largest increase of any club.

Support for the NRL clubs has grown significantly compared to the pre-pandemic period despite the upheavals of the last three years and 14 of the 16 continuing clubs have increased their support compared to 2022.

New club the Dolphins, based in the northern Brisbane suburb of Redcliffe, played their first game in the NRL just over six months ago in March 2023 and already have attracted the support of 232,000 Australians to be the third most popular Queensland club.

NRL Club Supporter Ladder 2023

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2021-June 2022, n=65,321 & July 2022-June 2023, n=66,234.
Australians 14+. *New Zealand Warriors support only includes Australian-based supporters.

All five other clubs to play finals in 2022 increased their support over the year to June 2023 led by the South Sydney Rabbitohs, up 16,000 (+3.4%) to 491,000, North Queensland Cowboys, up 106,000 (+29.7%) and Sydney Roosters, up 45,000 (+12.1%) to 418,000.

Support for the Canberra Raiders was up 19,000 (+9.1%) to 252,000 and support increased for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, up 10,000 to 217,000. However, despite increasing for a second straight year, the Sharks are the only Sydney-based club with fewer than 300,000 supporters.

Other clubs to increase their support included the St. George Illawarra Dragons, up 48,000 (+12.8%) to 422,000, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, up 85,000 (+33.6%) to 338,000, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, up 4,000 (+1.4%) to 300,000 and the Newcastle Knights, up 28,000 (+11.7%) to 267,000.

In addition to growth in support for a majority of clubs the NRL consistently rates as one of Australia’s favourite ‘TV products’. Now 6.8 million Australians (31.4%) watch the NRL on TV, up 674,000 (+11%) on a year ago and up by over 1 million (+17.5%) on three years ago.

The most popular NRL product on TV is again the annual State of Origin series between New South Wales and Queensland with 5.7 million Australians (26.4%) watching Origin on TV, up 571,000 (+11.1%) on a year ago and up by 760,000 (+15.4%) on two years ago. Close behind in popularity is the NRL Grand Final with 5.3 million Australians (24.5%) watching the season decider on TV.

Detailed in-depth profiles of NRL Supporters, Australians who watch NRL on TV, Australians who play Rugby League and profiles of supporters of all 17 NRL clubs are available on the Roy Morgan Online Store for those keen to learn more about the sport.

These key findings are derived from detailed in-depth interview with over 60,000 Australians each year as part of the Roy Morgan Single Source survey.

Julian McCrann, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan, says the Melbourne Storm has topped the annual Roy Morgan NRL Club Support Ladder for the third straight year in 2023 with 1.2 million supporters – up an impressive 343,000 (+40.2%) on four years ago:

Block Quote

“The Melbourne Storm have been the most successful NRL team over the last two decades since 2003 playing in nine Grand Finals and winning five of them (although two were stripped due to salary cap violations). Nevertheless, the Storm have claimed three Premierships in 2012, 2017 & 2020, a feat matched only by the Roosters (2013, 2018 & 2019) and Panthers (2003, 2021 & 2022).

“The sustained period of success for the Storm includes playing finals for the last 13 years in a row (2011-23) and has powered the club to the top of the Roy Morgan NRL supporter ladder for the third year in a row with 1.2 million supporters. The COVID-19 pandemic has had no impact on this level support with an increase of 343,000 (+40.2%) since pre-pandemic in 2019.

“In a clear second place is the Brisbane Broncos with 1.15 million supporters, up a large 94,000 (+8.9%) on a year ago and closing the gap significantly on the Storm after the Broncos best home and away season for over two decades. The Broncos head into their first NRL Grand Final in eight years seeking an unprecedented seventh Premiership since 1992. The Broncos have won more Premierships than any other team since joining the competition just over 30 years ago in 1988.

“The increase in support for the Broncos over the last year is especially impressive given the entry of a second team from Brisbane this year. The Dolphins, based in the northern Brisbane bayside suburb of Redcliffe, entered the competition in good form winning their first three games and have already attracted the support of 232,000 Australians, ahead of fellow Queensland team the Gold Coast Titans which have only 141,000 supporters, the least of any team.

“Although the Penrith Panthers do not have a sustained long-term record of success, the club has clearly been the competition’s best in recent seasons and will this week play in its fourth Grand Final in a row – the first club to do this since the Storm did so from 2006-2009. However, this week Penrith is chasing a third straight Premiership in a row – a feat last achieved by the club with the NRL’s longest Premiership drought the Parramatta Eels from 1981-1983.


“The recent success of the Panthers has clearly given the ‘Mountain Men’ a huge boost in support in recent years with support almost doubling since 2020 and increasing by a massive 171,000 (+91%) over the last three years to 359,000. Penrith made their first NRL Grand Final for nearly two decades in 2020 and have gone from strength-to-strength on and off the field since then.

“The most widely supported NRL club in Sydney is again the Parramatta Eels with 494,000 supporters, up a large 138,000 (+30.3%) on a year ago, following the club’s first NRL Grand Final in 13 years after four straight years of finals (2019-2022). However, the Eels were not able to back up their good year in 2022 and finished outside the finals this year.

“The overall numbers have also increased significantly compared to a year ago with over 7.2 million Australians now supporting an NRL club, up a large 757,000 (+11.7%) on a year ago, and up almost as many, 6.8 million, now watching the NRL on TV – up 674,000 (+11%) on a year ago.

“Contact Roy Morgan to learn more about what types of supporters each of the 17 NRL clubs are attracting both in the stands and on TV as well as what sets these fans apart from their peers in wider society by drawing on the qualitative and quantitative data gathered by in-depth personal interviews conducted with over 60,000 Australians each year.”

For comments or more information about Roy Morgan’s NRL Supporter profiles and other Sporting profiles data, please contact:

Roy Morgan Enquiries
Office: +61 (3) 9224 5309

Related research findings

Compiled with data from Roy Morgan’s Single Source survey (the largest of its kind in the world, with 60,000 respondents p.a.), these ready-made profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in Australia.

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

Related Findings

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