The Sydney Swans have once again claimed the title of most supported AFL team with more than 1.3 million fans, while Collingwood increased its fan numbers by 169,000 in just one year.
The Swans have topped the annual Roy Morgan AFL Supporters Rankings for the 18th consecutive year, ahead of Collingwood, Brisbane and West Coast.
The Swans, the only club with more than a million supporters, recorded an increase of 209,000 fans in the last 12 months, the largest of any AFL club.
Collingwood, which has seen the biggest increase of any Victoria-based club, now has 875,000 supporters – just ahead of the Brisbane Lions who have 826,000 supporters.
The West Coast Eagles, with 697,000 supporters, are in fourth place – retaining their support this year despite finishing last in the competition.
The Swans won the title of most supported AFL team with 1.34 million supporters.
Sydney recorded an increase of 209,000 fans – the largest of any AFL club.
The national survey found 13 of the AFL’s 18 clubs experienced an increase in support over the past 12 months, with the largest increases recorded for the top three clubs.
The fourth largest increase in supporters was Fremantle, which increased by 76,000 to 425,000, while Geelong increased its support by 59,000 to 638,000, making it the fifth largest increase.
Three other 2022 finalists have seen their support increase over the past 12 months, with Melbourne up 40,000 to 354,000, the Richmond Tigers up 27,000 (+5.1%) to 554,000 and the Bulldogs, up 15,000 (4.6%) to 341,000.
The other four clubs to see an increase in support were North Melbourne, up 52,000 to 251,000, Hawthorn, up 30,000 to 475,000, Port Adelaide, up 9,000 to 301,000 and Carlton, up 6,000 to 532,000.
Essendon, Adelaide, St Kilda, GWS and Gold Coast have all recorded a decline in their supporter base this year.
The survey also found more than 9.6 million Australians now support an AFL club, an increase of more than 680,000 from last year.
Additionally, 8,451,000 Australians reported watching an AFL game on television, up 706,000 from a year ago.
Julian McCrann, Roy Morgan’s director of industrial communications, said the code’s growth over the past 12 months has been dramatic.
Collingwood saw the biggest increase of any club based in Victoria
The survey showed that support for the GWS Giants has declined over the past 12 months.
“Although the last three AFL seasons completed from 2020 to 2022 were significantly disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, they did not hinder the growth of the game. Compared to 2019, all key indicators have increased rapidly and significantly,” McCrann said.
“Now a record more than 9.6 million Australians have told Roy Morgan they support at least one of the AFL’s 18 clubs – an increase of 706,000 (+9.1%) from a year ago and more than a million compared to the same period in 2019 before. none of us have ever heard of COVID-19.