After a record breaking season and a huge grand final, its time to wrap up the season with a nice big bow, with new records set in Membership, Attendance and tv ratings.
Collingwood leads all comers in the social media stakes with 390,000 followers on facebook, 368,000 followers on instagram, 157,000 on twitter (#2 behind Adelaide) and 213,000 followers on tiktok (#2 behind Geelong). Coming up behind them are Richmond and Hawthorn.
Reference table - AFL Social Media 2023
The Sydney Swans have again topped the annual Roy Morgan AFL supporter ladder as the only club with over 1 million supporters. The Swans now have 1,344,000 supporters, an increase of 209,000 supporters (+18.4%) on a year ago according to the 2023 annual Roy Morgan AFL club supporters survey
Port Adelaide, North Melbourne, Melbourne and Gold Coast are best at converting supporters to members
More than 200,000 volunteer roles have been taken on in the name of driving community football forward
- A record 384,000 people registered to play junior and senior community club football, beating the previous high set in 2019
- A record 125,000 kids signed up for NAB AFL Auskick, eclipsing the previous high also set in 2019
- Girls participation in Auskick continues to grow with girls making up one in four Auskick participants
- Between club football and Auskick, that’s more than half a million people pulling on the boots to play our great game
- More than 27,000 coaches registered via Coach AFL
- Nearly 18,000 umpires registered, a 12 per cent increase on 2022
- More than one million students have been engaged in our schools programs and a further 200,000 are expected to take part before the end of the year
The AFLs inauguarl Gather Round was held in Adelaide in Round 5. Taken indivudually the attendance totalled 268,287, but as event days the total was 204,335. Matches were held at Adelaide Oval, Norwood Oval and Summit Park, Mt Barker.
It has been announced for the same time next year, with matches now expected to be held at the same venues, after delays in the redevelopment of the ground at Tanunda.
15 Clubs declared membership records this season, with only Hawthorn, Richmond and West Coast failing to set a new mark. Collingwood, West Coast and Richmond did all break the 100,000 mark for the season.
Reference tabe: AFL Membership 1984-2023
The AFL set a new record for gross attendance reaching more than 8.1 million attendees in 2023 - the first time the 8 million mark has been breached. This was helped by the addition of a whole new round. A record 7.474 million attended home and away matches, and the 664,780 that attended during the finals is the second highest finals attendance of all time.
30 matches over the season broke the 60,000 crowd mark including a record 9 games over the 80,000 mark in 2023 (all at the MCG - totalling more than 2.4 million attendees on its own), as well as a record equalling 5 games over 90,000 in the finals series.
Attendances were helped by strong crowds in Melbourne for a dominant Collingwood and a resurgent Carlton, while Brisbane and the Swans had good runs further north.
Collingwood led the club attendances at 68,000 per game, followed by the Blues at 51,429, narrowly ahead of the Tigers on 51,420. The Bombers came in 4th at 46,690, while Freo were the best non Victorian side, coming in 5th at 44,097 per game.
2023 marks the start of the extension of the original 2017-2022 deal that was signed pre COVID. This deal was announced in 2020 - AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said the new extended broadcast deal, along with the Seven Network's extension for the 2023-2024 seasons announced earlier this year, would deliver $946 million to the AFL industry over the two years.
The AFL will now receive $730 million from Seven over the next five years (from the 2020 announcement), an average annual payment of $147 million each year. Telstra, which is the mobile rights provider, will continue to pay $50 million per year. No figures have been given for Foxtels contribution.
Under the extended agreement:
- Foxtel will extend its coverage of AFL to cover the 2023 and 2024 Toyota AFL Premiership seasons and the NAB AFLW seasons with all games during the home and away season shown live.
- Foxtel will continue to broadcast all Premiership Season matches live on subscription television and digital platforms (Kayo, Foxtel Go, Foxtel Now) in 2023-24, as well as having replay and highlight rights.
- Telstra continues its partnership through the 2023 and 2024 seasons, with highlight, replay and on demand rights while increasing their investment in sponsorship assets.
- Telstra will become Marvel Stadium's official technology and innovation partner over the next four years, ensuring the revamped Marvel Stadium offers supporters the best digital experience of any stadium or entertainment venue in the country and ensuring supporters have the technology to connect them to the game they love.
- Telstra technology and connectivity will be deployed at Marvel over the next few years including fixed and 4G/5G networks upgrades, Artificial Intelligence, and mixed reality and edge computing. From booking a seat to parking to engaging with the game, attendees will soon be able to experience a new stadium experience before, during, and after they attend the game.
- Telstra will also expand its visual sponsorship elements such as on-field Telstra 5G signage, and continue the development of the AFL's digital assets such as AFL.com.au, club websites and the AFL Official LIVE App. The updated sponsorship also deepens Telstra's connections to AFL Clubs and extends the agreement with the AFL Players Association that engages all listed players as ambassadors for use in social marketing campaigns and other initiatives.
A big year for the AFL on television with estimated audiences reaching 141 million up to and including the AFL Grand Final. This doesnt include the ongoing AFLW season. This is up from the 125m estimated in 2022.
This is broken down into segments
- FTA 62.508m
- Foxfooty/Fox505 36.179m
- FoxBVOD est 44.201m
- Total 142.88m
Foxtel Group now captures more than 52% share of commercial BVOD viewing. With the integration of Kayo Sports data, 29 of the top 30 BVOD programmes (including live and Video On Demand) in May were from Foxtel Group. The start of the winter sports season saw growth in the total Foxtel Group streaming audience, which includes Kayo Sports, Foxtel Go and Foxtel Now, for NRL (rounds 1-15) and AFL (rounds 1-13) up 13% and 15% year-on-year respectively.
As always note that this data is Australian only unless specified. We simply cannot get the data we would like and many would seem happy for us to fabricate.
Metro FTA Audience
- Sydney average 22,000 (-21% Year on Year)
- Melbourne average 219,000 (-1.35%)
- Brisbane average 30,000 (+11%)
- Adelaide average 77,000 (no movement)
- Perth average 56,000 (-23%)
- Sydney/Brisbane combined average 39,000
In Melbourne, the two games that didnt involve Melbourne sides rated an average of 154,000. Games involving Melbourne sides averaged 225,000.
In Brisbane, the Lions averaged 48,000 in 2023 - +17% YoY - (including a season high of 80,000), while the Suns managed 22,000 per game (no movement). Games involving neither side rated 26,000, (To be fair the Suns are Gold Coast based, but did struggle at the lower end of the ratings).
In Adelaide, the Crows averaged 94,000 a game (+10%), while the Power averaged 87,000 (-4%). The Showdowns rated 150,000 and 143,000, although the Crows/Blues round 5 magic round opener splt the two at 148,000. Games involving neither Adelaide side rated an average 68,000.
In Perth, West Coast matches averaged 74,000 - down 22% - while Fremantle games fared worse - down 28% YoY and averaged 69,000. The Western Derby rated 155,000 and 154,000. Games involving neither Perth side averaged 45,000.
Collingwood lead the way for the Clubs on Foxtel averaging 222,000 on set top boxes in 2023
- Carlton 194,000
- Geelong 189,000
- Richmond 185,000
This years AFL FInals series rated 17.352m - up 16% on 2022 , including Grand Final ratings of 3.855m (up 25% on 2022), while both Prelims had audiences over 2 million each.
The Grand Final audience on Seven was also shown on 7plus for the first time under the new deal.
Seven’s AFL Grand Final
According to Seven, The Grand Final showdown between Collingwood and the Brisbane Lions is the most watched TV program in 2023 outside of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™, scoring an average total television audience of 3.75 million viewers, including 3.3 million viewers nationally and 2.47 million in the capital cities. An additional 441,000 viewers watched live on 7plus – the biggest ever audience for an AFL match on a streaming platform.
Collingwood epic four-point victory over Brisbane, which will go down in history as one of the greatest grand finals of all time, dominated its timeslot in the capital cities with a 92.2% share of viewers during the game, a 94.8% share of 25 to 54s and a 96.7% share in 16 to 39s.
In Melbourne, the Grand Final recorded a 97.4% share of viewers during the game, with Sydney recording a 79.5% share of viewers in its timeslot, and Brisbane a 87.9% share.
- AFL Grand Final: 3.75 million total viewers nationally. Reached 4.98 million on broadcast, 756,000 on 7plus.
- AFL Grand Final: Presentations: 3.66 million total viewers nationally. Reached 4.87 million on broadcast.
- AFL Grand Final: On The Ground: 2.74 million total viewers nationally.
- AFL Grand Final: Pre-Match entertainment: 1.2 million total viewers nationally.
- AFL Grand Final: Post Match: 323,000 total viewers nationally.
- Metro: 2.464m
- Regional: 989,000
- BVOD: 414,000
- Total: 3.855m total
- Seven 3.988m
- Metro 2.554m
- Regional 976,000
- BVOD 457,000
- Presentations 3.245m
- On the Ground 2.841m
- Pre match ent 1.254m
- Countdown 491,000
- Brunch 386,000
- Postmatch 361,000
- Foxtel Long Kick 140,000
- Breakfast 39,000
Foxtel Media announced 19 brands have signed on as sponsors for the 2023 AFL season. AAMI, Chemist Warehouse, Coles, Ford, Harvey Norman, Hostplus, Industry Super Funds, KFC, McCain, McDonald’s, NAB, Sportsbet, Telstra, Toyota, and Xero are the 2023 season match day returning sponsors, with Bunnings, KIA, Menulog and Wild Turkey joining as new sponsors for the season.
Seven announced 21 partners and additional local parters for the 2023 season. Joining Seven’s coverage as broadcast partners are Toyota, AAMI, Macca’s, Harvey Norman and Bunnings. Sportsbet, Coles, Telstra, Industry Super Funds, Hostplus, CBUS, NAB, Asahi Beverages, Uber Eats, Chemist Warehouse, OMO Ultimate, Cash Converters, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, Tradie Underwear and Colgate-Palmolive join as broadcast sponsors, with additional brands signing on as local market sponsors.
This season has a long way to go and isnt included here.
Notes and Sources
Crowd data is checked against the AFL website and afltables.com - with assistance from Bigfooty members and twitter.
Membership data is from club websites and the AFL
Social media data is from facebook/twitter/instagram and tiktok
TV Ratings data is from Oztam and VOZ. Estimates for FoxBVOD are based on the last 6 weeks of BVOD reporting on OZtam VPM reports.
Our thanks to TVBlackbox for another year of assistance.