AFL Chief Executive Officer Andrew Demetriou has announced that 2013 AFL club membership had reached 756,717 members nationally – the highest recorded figure in the game’s history and a 6.94 per cent increase on last year’s total.
The AFL completed its official membership audit at the end of last week, following the July 31 deadline, with data revealing 11 out of 18 AFL clubs have broken their all-time club membership records in 2013.
The membership of AFL clubs comprised 670,811 club access members with match-day entry (compared to 650,562 in 2012) and 85,906 non-access members (compared to 57,059 in 2012).
Mr Demetriou cited the work of all 18 clubs, including their players, coaches and administrative staff to grow membership of the game throughout the country.
“Membership continues to be the backbone of our game and offers our fans the chance to enjoy real ownership in their club,” Mr Demetriou said.
“The AFL thanks those fans who make a significant commitment to their club whether that is through membership, watching their games or attending matches throughout the year.
“We have seen a substantial rise in membership across the competition with many clubs setting new benchmarks – this is testament to the value clubs place on building membership of the game and engaging supporters.
“Importantly, significant growth has been recorded across the board, with the greatest increases coming from our youngest clubs as well some of our most established clubs.
“As a national competition, we are committed to taking AFL matches to as many regions as possible and quite clearly our clubs play an important role in communities right around the country. Our clubs and players are to be congratulated for the part they play in making themselves accessible to supporters on an ongoing basis.”
AFL club membership has risen every single year since the 2001 season, with the only drop in membership through the last two decades since 1990 coming in 2000, when the AFL season was moved forward by a month to accommodate the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
All but two clubs – Melbourne and St Kilda – recorded increases on their 2012 membership tally, with Brisbane, Carlton, Essendon, Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney, Port Adelaide, Richmond, and Sydney recording double-digit growth. Last year two clubs, North Melbourne and Richmond, recorded double-digit growth.
Greater Western Sydney recorded the greatest percentage increase in membership numbers of any AFL club in 2013, with this year’s total (12,681) representing a 23.83 per cent increase on last year’s membership total (10,241). Reigning Premiers Sydney were second with a 21.71 per cent increase in 2013 (36,358 members) against 2012 (29,873).
Collingwood remains the largest-supported club in the competition, taking its total membership to 78,427 – the highest ever for an AFL club – while Hawthorn (63,353), Richmond (60,321), West Coast (58,501), Essendon (56,173) and Carlton (50,564) are the competition’s other clubs beyond 50,000 members.