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The most popular football club in Australia for 2014

Roar Guru
2nd January, 2015
6582 Reads

As a follow-up to a series of articles I commenced earlier in 2014, this is the promised finale: my assessment of the most popular football club in Australia year for 2014.

As suggested by the title, I have used data for the calendar year of 2014.

  • The survey assesses all the professional Australian football clubs playing in the top tier, across the AFL, NRL, Super Rugby and A-League.
  • The New Zealand Warriors and Wellington Phoenix are included in the actual list. The overseas Super rugby clubs are not included in the list, although all stats featuring Australian clubs are included.
  • The mid-year pilot made an attempt to gauge interest via social media by looking at Tweet follows. Due to public demand, this component has been dropped.
  • The assessment is now relatively simple: attendances and Fox ratings.

The top-four spots are held by what many consider to be the biggest AFL clubs: Collingwood, Essendon, Hawthorn and Carlton. As a guide, the 14-point gap between Collingwood and Essendon is the equivalent of 14,000 in average attendance or 28,000 in average ratings.

The Brisbane Broncos fly the flag on behalf of the NRL, coming in at fifth, barely two points below Carlton. The Blues’ status has been slipping for a while now, and it would not surprise me to see the Broncos overtake the Blues in the next couple of years.

Another four AFL clubs follow: Adelaide Crows, Geelong, Port Adelaide and Richmond. Port experienced a meteoric rise this year, being the first full season of the revamped Adelaide Oval, averaging attendances of nearly 44,500.

South Sydney brings up the top 10, falling just a whisker short of Richmond. The Rabbitohs had attendances of almost 20,000, and the highest average ratings of any NRL club (its average of 245k was only 2k short of Collingwood’s).

Having consolidated is place, not only in the NRL, but as a premier football club in Australia, one can see Souths’ position only getting stronger.

Outside of the top 10, the Storm’s finish in 12th spot is of interest, below the Swans and above Manly.


All 34 AFL and NRL clubs take up the top 34 positions, with four AFL clubs taking up 31st to 34th: St Kilda, the Suns, the Lions and GWS, all four finishing below the Raiders.

The Suns have managed to finish above the Lions in only their fourth season, with the Lions experiencing the lowest average ratings of any AFL club (even lower than GWS).

Also of interest in the lower reaches of the top 34 is the New Zealand Warriors finishing above the Western Bulldogs, and within striking distance of the Demons, having experienced very healthy ratings of 175k.

After the top 34, there is a bit of a gap to the other clubs, all of them from Super Rugby and the A-League.

Of these, the Reds and Waratahs are the most popular, with the Waratahs having a 10 point gap on the most popular A-League team: Sydney FC (closely followed by the Victory).

Of interest is the very low rating of the Rebels, with Heart/City (treated as the one club for 2014), the Glory, the Jets, the Mariners and the Phoenix bringing up the rear with average ratings of 62k or less (the Rebels managed to reach 70k).

The full list for 2014:
1. Collingwood, 171.7
2. Essendon, 157.6
3. Hawthorn, 153.1
4. Carlton, 151.3
5. Brisbane Broncos, 149.2
6. Adelaide Crows, 145.6
7. Geelong, 143.9
8. Port Adelaide, 143.6
9. Richmond, 142.7
10. Souths, 142.5
11. Sydney Swans, 140.1
12. Melbourne Storm, 135.6
13. Manly, 131.8
14. Nth Queensland, 131.0
15. Wests, 129.3
16. Parramatta, 127.9
17. Fremantle, 127.8
18. Canterbury, 127.5
19. St George, 126.0
20. West Coast, 124.4
21. Sydney Roosters, 119.0
22. North Melbourne, 116.5
23. Gold Coast Titans, 115.2
24. Penrith, 115.0
25. Newcastle Knights, 113.0
26. Cronulla, 112.4
27. Melbourne Demons, 107.0
28. New Zealand, 105.1
29. Western Bulldogs, 104.0
30. Canberra Raiders, 102.0
31. St Kilda, 98.7
32. Gold Coast Suns, 98.5
33. Brisbane Lions, 96.3
34. GWS Giants, 88.9
35. Queensland Reds, 71.8
36. NSW Waratahs, 70.0
37. Sydney FC, 60.3
38. Melbourne Victory, 58.6
39. ACT Brumbies, 53.5
40. Western Force, 49.6
41. West Sydney Wanderers, 48.8
42. Adelaide United, 47.5
43. Brisbane Roar, 47.5
44. Melbourne Rebels, 46.4
45. Melbourne Heart/City, 41.8
46. Perth Glory, 38.1
47. Newcastle Jets, 38.1
48. Central Coast Mariners, 35.4
49. Wellington Phoenix, 31.2

Depending on the response and level of interest, I can offer to do something similar for 2015. Over time, one can imagine that the movements across the years will be of much interest to all sports fans.