Updated 20 Sep 2023, 11:54am
First published 20 Sep 2023, 11:51am
The Sydney Swans have the AFL’s largest support base. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Melbourne’s love of AFL is so deep that property auctions are scheduled to avoid clashing with the Grand Final, but it turns out the most supported team is actually in Sydney.
The Sydney Swans have become the AFL’s most popular team, with the annual Roy Morgan AFL supporter ladder showing they were the only team with over one million fans.
The Swans also had one of the fastest growing supporter bases. They had 1,344,000 supporters in 2023, a rise of 209,000 over the past year.
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The Collingwood Magpies were the second most followed team with 875,000 supporters, an increase of 169,000 over the past year, according to the Roy Morgan research.
The Brisbane Lions had a similar sized supporter base as Collingwood at 826,000, making them the third most supported team. The West Coast Eagles and Essendon Bombers rounded out the top five most popular clubs.
The Magpies were the second most supported club. Picture: Michael Dodge
Source: Roy Morgan
South Australia’s most popular team were the Adelaide Crows, who had a supporter base more than twice as large as Port Adelaide, the research showed.
Roy Morgan communications director Julian McCrann said there was a strong correlation between on-field success and supporter numbers.
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“All eight clubs which played finals in 2022 increased their supporter bases over the last year by at least 15,000. Even more importantly, the top six clubs from 2022 all increased their supporter bases by at least 10 per cent in 2023 – a minimum of an additional 40,000 supporters.”
The Swans were also winning on the home front, with PropTrack data suggesting they were the richest fan base when it came to property assets.
Buddy Franklin and wife Jesinta bought a luxury Gold Coast property.
Supporters have traditionally haled from Sydney’s inner- and middle-ring suburbs, which have had some of the biggest home value gains in the country over the last five years.
Home value rises have been particularly extreme in Sydney’s northern beaches, upper north shore and eastern suburbs, where the median value of houses increased by more than $400,000 over the period.
Notable Swans players have made big property plays in the last year too.
Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin and his fashion influencer wife Jesinta splashed about $9m on a Mediterranean mansion on the Gold Coast late last year before listing their luxury unit in Sydney’s eastern suburbs for about $5m.
They snapped up their sprawling luxury property known as Villa Casa after just six days on the market, smashing the previous sales record in their Gold Coast hinterland suburb.
Support for the Swans dwarfed the fan base for Sydney’s other AFL team, the GWS Giants.
The Giants had 118,000 supporters, a drop from last year. It was the second smallest supporter base behind the Gold Coast Suns.
But Roy Morgan noted that Swans supporters may also be some of the least loyal fans. Just 4.9 per cent of supporters were club members, the lowest of any team.
By this metric, Port Adelaide and North Melbourne fans were deemed the most loyal – 21.3 per cent and 20.4 per cent of supporters were club members.
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