Mid-year AFL off-field report card
When analysing the AFL, others may write about the teams and their performances, but I like numbers. I’m a geek of sorts, with too much time on my hands.
So here are the big three metrics the AFL prides itself on: TV viewing, crowds and memberships. Let’s see how these look half way through 2012.
Match attendances (at round 11):
While this is something of a planned downturn, even so there is room for much improvement. Gold Coast’s crowds are down and GWS crowds aren’t as high as perhaps people would expect. The overall aggregate is up on 2011, but well short of the record, and averages are well down.
At the top sit Collingwood (57,501) and Carlton (49,594) helped by early season blockbusters against traditional foes. Traditional Victorian “big 4″ clubs make up the top four, with Richmond (48,724) beating Essendon (46,735) into third spot. Surprisingly, lowly Melbourne (38,519) takes fifth. West Coast (38,407) is the top ranked of the non-Victorian sides.
Richmond are the big movers here, with crowd averages up 6,000 on their 2011 season average. The biggest surprise is Melbourne, up 7,500 over their 2011 average. At the other end of the scale, Sydney is down 6,000, possibly due to renovation work at the SCG, while Gold Coast crowds have dropped 6,000 on last seasons average. Of the Melbourne clubs, North’s crowds are down 2,000, possibly due to shifting a game to Hobart.
In hostile territory, the Lions (20,419) take top spot, followed by the Swans (20,317). GWS (14,939) narrowly beat the Gold Coast (13,296). These will be disappointing for the AFL, however GWS crowds are likely to fall close to expectations at this time, given they’ve played at four different grounds, two of which have a sub 15,000 capacity.
League 2012 Total: 3,163,135 (96 matches)
League 2011 Total: 3,084,541 (85 matches)
League Record: 3,391,470 (88 matches, 2008)
League five year average: 3,229,280 (445 matches)
League 2012 average: 32,949
League 2011 average: 36,289
League record average: 38,539 (2008)
League five year average: 36,284
Top six club averages:
Collingwood 57,501 (down 4,000 on 2011 average)
Carlton 49,541 (down 3,700 on 2011 average)
Richmond 48,724 (UP 6,000 on 2011 average)
Essendon 46,735 (down 2,500 on 2011 average)
Melbourne 38,519 (up 7,500 on 2011 average)
West Coast 38,407 (up 1,000 on 2011 average)
Bottom six Club Averages”
North Melbourne 24,188 (down 3,200 on 2011 average)
Port Adelaide 20,771 (down 1,000 on 2011 average)
Brisbane 20,491 (up 30 on 2011 average)
Sydney 20,317 (down 6,000 on 2011 average)
GWS 14,939 (change not applicable)
Gold Coast 13,296 (down 6,000 on 2011 average)
Note: Membership applications close for the year on June 30th. The following data come from official club media reports (websites to 12th June 11pm), Collingwood’s TV program and for Fremantle an article in the West Australian that is now somewhat out of date.
Collingwood recently announced they’d topped 70k, and many other clubs are at record levels of membership. At the expansion clubs (NSW and Queensland), Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast remain largely unchanged (pending audit) and GWS memberships may be below expectations at this time.
Top 4 Clubs
Collingwood (over 70,000)
West Coast (56,516)
Bottom 4 Clubs
Gold Coast (11,130)
The total for the year reported so far: 690,095 (up from 652,127 in 2011). It must be stressed that the 2011 data used is the AFL audited figure that strips thousands of “memberships” down to access only. The final 2012 figure may be reduced substantially. Note: It should be noted that some Richmond supporters are claiming the AFL will count all memberships this year. No one else has confirmed this, and I’ve been unable to find confirmation anywhere.
2012 (2011 Audit)
Adelaide – 46028 (44719)
Brisbane – 20501 (20792)
Carlton – 45282 (43791)
Collingwood – 70,000 (75271)
Essendon – 46450 (42559)
Fremantle – 38000 (42762)
Geelong – 39222 (39343)
Gold Coast – 11130 (11141)
GWS – 9476 (N/A)
Hawthorn – 59861 (53978)
Melbourne – 35090 (36937)
North Melbourne – 33047 (28761)
Port Adelaide – 37279 (32581)
Richmond – 50496 (40184)
St Kilda – 35113 (39276)
Sydney – 27565 (27106)
West Coast – 56516 (43216)
Western Bulldogs – 29039 (29710)
Total free-to-air viewers to round 11: 27,144,000 (27,717,000 in 2011)
Total Fox viewers to round 11: 18,202,000 (7,103,000 in 2011)
Total viewers to round 11: 45,346,000 (34,820,000 in 2011)
% FTA Viewers: 59.85%
% Fox Viewers: 40.15%
Average FTA viewers per match: 282,750
Average Fox viewers per match: 189,600
Total Melbourne FTA Viewers: 14,667,000 (54%) – up 5.7% on 2011
Total Adelaide FTA Viewers: 4,530,000 (16%) – down 11.5% on 2011
Total Perth FTA Viewers: 4,919,000 (18%) – down 1.9% on 2011
Total Syd/Bris FTA Viewers: 3,028,000 (11%) – down 7.7% on 2011
Increase in FTA metro and Fox viewers in 2012: 10,526,000 (Up 30.2%)
Increase in Fox viewers in 2012: 11,099,000 (up 156.25%)
Decrease in FTA viewers in 2012: 573,000 (down 2%)
Regional figures are not included, not because I don’t believe they are relevant but because the data is much harder for me to obtain. Available data is typically a top 20 programs and not necessarily showing data for all matches. I’m unwilling to pay for more information.
Sydney and Brisbane 7mate figures are combined because thats frequently how Mediaweek packages it on Twitter. Moreover, most other outlets don’t list the 7mate markets due to the low numbers.
Further, we recognise that Fox figures from last year do not include Main Event broadcasts from Queensland and NSW, however I believe those figures will have been subsumed this year into Foxfooty subscriptions and digital channel viewing.
Crowd figures sourced from www.stats.rleague.com
2011 television figures sourced from www.talkingfooty.com and 2012 figures sourced from mediaweek twitter
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