Port Adelaide Power has the highest rate of converting supporters into club members at 20.4 per cent. Photo: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos)

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has announced a new all-time AFL Club membership record of 1,264,952 members, meaning one in 21 Australians are now a member of an AFL club.

This year’s membership numbers supercede last year’s record, growing by 6.2 per cent.

While Sydney Swans and Collingwood Magpies have the most supporters at 1.344 million and 875,000 respectively, when it comes to the rates of conversion from supporter to paying membership, Port Adelaide Power and North Melbourne Kangaroos have topped the table. At the South Australian club, 21.3 per cent of supporters are members, according to Roy Morgan, while the conversion rate is 20.4% for the North Melbourne team.

AFL Supporter Conversion to Membership Rates

  % of supporters who are membersRoy Morgan Supporter
Official 2023
AFL Club Memberships*
1Port Adelaide Power21.3%301,00064,041
2North Melbourne Kangaroos20.4%251,00051,084
3Melbourne Demons20.0%354,00070,785
4Gold Coast Suns19.8%118,00023,359
5Richmond Tigers18.3%554,000101,349
6Carlton Blues17.9%532,00095,277
7St. Kilda Saints17.1%353,00060,239
8Hawthorn Hawks17.0%475,00080,698
9Western Bulldogs16.5%341,00056,302
10GWS Giants16.4%202,00033,036
11West Coast Eagles14.8%697,000103,275
12Fremantle Dockers14.6%425,00062,064
13Geelong Cats12.9%638,00082,155
14Essendon Bombers12.6%687,00086,274
15Collingwood Magpies12.2%875,000106,470
16Adelaide Crows10.5%651,00068,536
17Brisbane Lions6.6%826,00054,676
18Sydney Swans4.9%1,344,00065,332
Source: Roy Morgan.

Julian McCrann, industry communications director, Roy Morgan, noted that success in the AFL has not necessarily correlated to a higher conversion of supporters into paying members.

“An interesting analysis is to look in depth at the conversion rate of supporters to members amongst the AFL clubs. Several clubs with the highest supporter conversion rates have been less than successful in recent years with only one club in the top seven managing to win multiple Premierships this century – Richmond in fifth place and winning in 2017, 2019 & 2020.

“These results indicate that clubs that have had less success in recent years and found it harder to attract newer supporters must fight doubly hard to ensure existing supporters remain as members even during periods which lack Premiership success. The top two clubs on supporter conversion to membership rates are Port Adelaide and North Melbourne – neither club has played in a Grand Final for more than 15 years,” stated McCrann.

AFL CEO McLachlan puts the league’s conversion of supporters to members down to the community each AFL club creates within its supporter base.

“Quite simply we have the greatest game in the world, and the most loyal and passionate fans in world sport,” McLachlansaid.

“It has been a record-breaking season on so many levels, and it is club membership that is the marker that signifies our fans deep connection with their clubs.

“The 18 clubs do an unbelievable job in creating a sense of belonging and bringing their fans along for the journey.

“On behalf of the AFL, I’d like to thank all our fans and every club member whose support is the backbone of our game.”

McCrann stated that if membership rates were to continue to grow at their current pace,an extra 100,000 members could see one in twenty Australians – or 5 per cent of the population – be an AFL club member by as early as next year.

The AFL Grand Final is set to take place this Saturday 30 September between Collingwood Football Club and Brisbane Lions.

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