AFL crowds set to break all-time records

By Ben McKay, Ben McKay is a Roar Guru

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    The MCG is set to host more than 130,000 footy fans in two nights

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    Three MCG blockbusters should help the AFL set a new record for single-round attendance when the new season begins this weekend.

    Canny fixturing and high hopes among AFL fans of many teams for the season ahead are set to underpin a new benchmark for crowds across a single round.

    On Monday, the MCC published its crowd estimations for the back-to-back-to-back clashes.

    The traditional Thursday night season opener between Carlton and Richmond has been pegged for a crowd of 70,000.

    The Western Bulldogs return to the MCG for the first time since their grand final triumph on Friday night against Collingwood, with 65,000 expected.

    The biggest match of the weekend is a full-strength Essendon taking on heated rivals Hawthorn on Saturday night, for which stadium management predict at least 80,000 in the stands.

    Helping attendance along, the Friday and Saturday matches are member replacement games for Bulldogs and Hawks fans.

    By Sunday evening, when a near sold-out Domain Stadium hosts Fremantle against Geelong, more than 400,000 people could have attended an AFL match over the weekend.

    That should smash the current record of 371,212 people set across round 15 in 2013, when two MCG matches – Carlton against Collingwood and Hawthorn versus Geelong – both attracted huge crowds.

    An MCC spokesperson said groundstaff had been working to have the MCG in “pristine condition” for Thursday’s opening bounce.

    “Within a mere 48-hour period we are expecting upwards of 230,000 people to pass through the gates, providing a great start to the 2017 season,” she said.

    “Given the large crowds forecast we are strongly urging fans to plan their journey, arrive early and where possible use public transport to ensure they don’t miss a minute of the action.”

    The record tilt will also depend on near capacity crowds in Adelaide and Sydney, and strong showings at two Etihad Stadium fixtures.

    St Kilda v Melbourne hasn’t set turnstiles spinning in recent years, but fans of both sides hopeful of break-through seasons could push the attendance well above 30,000 at the Docklands venue, while North Melbourne against West Coast should draw at least 25,000.

    The low watermark will come at Metricon Stadium for the Q-Clash between Gold Coast and Brisbane, which averages less than 15,000.


    Carlton v Richmond – MCG – 70,000

    Collingwood v Western Bulldogs – MCG – 65,000

    Sydney v Port Adelaide – SCG – 33,000

    St Kilda v Melbourne – Etihad – 35,000

    Gold Coast v Brisbane – Metricon – 15,000

    Essendon v Hawthorn – MCG – 80,000

    North Melbourne v West Coast – Etihad – 27,000

    Adelaide v GWS Giants – Adelaide Oval – 42,000

    Fremantle v Geelong – Domain Stadium – 34,000

    TOTAL: 401,000

    PREVIOUS RECORD: 371, 212 set during round 15, 2013.

    * Non-MCG crowd estimates sourced using a combination of club and ground estimates, average attendance and previous fixture attendance.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (15)

    • March 20th 2017 @ 8:43pm
      Ryan said | March 20th 2017 @ 8:43pm | ! Report

      Think your underestimating the crowd with Adelaide and Western Sydney, being a crows fan i think they’ll be at least 47,000 at the game plus the St.Kilda and Melbourne game could fetch above 40,000.

      • March 20th 2017 @ 9:36pm
        alicesprings said | March 20th 2017 @ 9:36pm | ! Report

        Agree those games will draw a few extra, apart from that pretty spot on.

        Carlton v Richmond – MCG – 70,000

        Collingwood v Western Bulldogs – MCG – 65,000

        Sydney v Port Adelaide – SCG – 35,000

        St Kilda v Melbourne – Etihad – 40,000

        Gold Coast v Brisbane – Metricon – 20,000

        Essendon v Hawthorn – MCG – 80,000

        North Melbourne v West Coast – Etihad – 25,000

        Adelaide v GWS Giants – Adelaide Oval – 50,000

        Fremantle v Geelong – Domain Stadium – 35,000

        TOTAL: 420,000

      • March 21st 2017 @ 10:28pm
        Bored said | March 21st 2017 @ 10:28pm | ! Report

        Meanwhile over at union and NRL the crowds have plummeted.

    • March 20th 2017 @ 10:22pm
      J.T. Delacroix said | March 20th 2017 @ 10:22pm | ! Report

      That’s probably about the equivalent of three rounds of NRL attendance in one go. A-League wise, I’m not sure. Maybe half the season!?

      • March 21st 2017 @ 12:19pm
        clipper said | March 21st 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

        It is actually quite a bit more than the attendance of 3 NRL rounds – that figure is 347,190 for the 3 rounds so far this year.

        • March 21st 2017 @ 1:37pm
          Craigo said | March 21st 2017 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

          LOL….Gold Coast v Brisbane – Metricon – 15,000

          More like 8000 at best. No one up here knows it’s on and will be a test pattern on TV again.

          don’t you love the AFL navel-gazing propaganda machine.

          AFL crowds are dropping in 2010 they had average crowds of 38,477 last year the crowd average was 33,199.

          • Roar Guru

            March 21st 2017 @ 1:48pm
            TomC said | March 21st 2017 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

            Oh good. Another code warrior. Can never have enough of them.

            • March 21st 2017 @ 3:19pm
              Craigo said | March 21st 2017 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

              Yeah, Clipper is a bit like that.

          • March 21st 2017 @ 1:53pm
            clipper said | March 21st 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

            Crowds in NRL are dropping too – 4 years in a row now, better crowd numbers in 2005, think it’s a common theme when the TV dollar is being chased. Shouldn’t use averages though, as GWS and SUNS were introduced after that and dragged the average down.
            We’ll see you is closest with the Metricon figures next week.

          • March 21st 2017 @ 5:45pm
            Gareth Jackson said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

            Of course it dropped after 2010, GC Suns and GWS were added in the next two years.

          • March 21st 2017 @ 10:32pm
            Bored said | March 21st 2017 @ 10:32pm | ! Report

            NRL is looking at pulling out of the Gold Coast. The locals are not supporting the Titans.

            • March 22nd 2017 @ 10:44am
              Craigo said | March 22nd 2017 @ 10:44am | ! Report


              In other fake news the AFL is kicking Collingwood out of the AFL for not having enough members!!!

    • March 21st 2017 @ 7:16am
      I hate pies said | March 21st 2017 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      You know what they say about assumptions.

    • Roar Guru

      March 22nd 2017 @ 1:27pm
      Redb said | March 22nd 2017 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

      Reckon the North home game getting 27K is way optimistic. Should still get enough overall to beat the old record though.

      • March 22nd 2017 @ 4:47pm
        clipper said | March 22nd 2017 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

        Sydney might be a bit optimistic as well, especially with the rain forecast.

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