September 21, 2017

Sydney Swans most widely supported AFL club

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 7345
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The Sydney Swans have again topped the annual Roy Morgan AFL supporter ladder – streaking the field with 1.204 million supporters, an increase of a solid 104,000 (+9.5%) on the back of a 2016 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 and “won” their first Wooden Spoon 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 is a real phenomenon – ala Hawthorn 2008-09, and look how Hawthorn bounced back from that unexpected slide down the ladder as Premiers.

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.

Conversion Rate Roy Morgan Supporter
Official 2017
AFL Club Memberships*
Western Bulldogs 19.3% 247,000 47,653
Melbourne Demons 18.4% 229,000 42,233
Port Adelaide Power 17.5% 298,000 52,129
Richmond Tigers 16.4% 442,000 72,669
North Melbourne Kangaroos 15.3% 263,000 40,343
Hawthorn Hawks 14.3% 528,000 75,663
St. Kilda Saints 14.3% 294,000 42,052
GWS Giants 12.0% 175,000 20,944
Collingwood Magpies 11.4% 663,000 75,879
Fremantle Dockers 11.2% 459,000 51,254
Gold Coast Suns 11.0% 106,000 11,665
Carlton Blues 10.8% 464,000 50,326
Geelong Cats 10.7% 515,000 54,854
Adelaide Crows 10.5% 541,000 56,865
Essendon Bombers 10.1% 671,000 67,768
West Coast Eagles 9.7% 669,000 65,064
Sydney Swans 4.9% 1,204,000 58,838
Brisbane Lions 4.4% 489,000 21,362
Victoria 19.3% 2,955,000 569,440
South Australia 13.8% 781,000 108,119
Western Australia 10.1% 1,150,000 116,318
New South Wales 4.6% 1,716,000 79,782
Queensland 3.7% 901,000 33,027
TOTAL 11.7% 7,757,000 907,561

#State numbers are split by club’s location (home state). *Full AFL Membership Figures available at 

Gary Morgan, Executive Chairman, Roy Morgan Research, says:

Block Quote

“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.

“In terms of passion – Victoria remains the beating heart of the AFL with nearly 3 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 fifth year in history 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.”

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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

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