Popularity of AFL on the rise

VISION UPFIELD: A Macleay Valley Eagles youth girl with the sherrin in hand earlier this year. AFL is growing in popularity on the Mid North Coast and across NSW.
VISION UPFIELD: A Macleay Valley Eagles youth girl with the sherrin in hand earlier this year. AFL is growing in popularity on the Mid North Coast and across NSW.

AFL is on its way to becoming one of the Mid North Coast’s favourite sports.

Across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory participation grew 8.2 percent off the back of a phenomenal 78 per cent increase in the number of female participants playing in registered Club football competitions across the state and territory.

Overall participation in AFL competitions and programs across the region grew 7.3 per cent in 2017 to over 250,000 participants making the AFL community in NSW and the ACT Australia’s third largest participation base in the country behind Victoria and Western Australia.

AFL NSW/ACT CEO Sam Graham said he was delighted with the continued growth of AFL across the region.

“I’m really excited about the fantastic growth of AFL across our region in 2017, especially in our key segments of Auskick, Club and female football,” Mr Graham said.

“Our growth in Club football is the highest of any state in Australia driven by skyrocketing participation in our youth girls and female competitions. It’s fantastic to now offer a complete pathway from NAB AFL Auskick right through to the elite AFLW competition for women.

“I’d like to thank our Leagues, Clubs, Volunteers, Coaches and Administrators for their commitment to fostering growth across the region this year in what was an outstanding result for the AFL further highlighting the popularity of our code at all levels of our game.”

AFL NSW/ACT continues to see rapid growth in the AFL 9s product with a 30% increase in participation in AFL’s official modified, non-contact version of AFL.

The fun, fast, free-flowing football is played with nine players per side on a smaller ground. NAB AFL Auskick growth remains steady with over 66,000 Auskickers taking the field this year representing a 9.3% increase on 2016 with key markets such as Greater Western Sydney seeing double digit growth in the AFL’s marquee kids participatory offering.

Overall participation in AFL competitions and programs nationwide grew to an impressive 1.55M participants across the country in 2017.

Key AFL NSW/ACT participation statistics for 2017: • 8.2% growth in Club football in NSW/ACT – the highest growth rate in the country • 78% growth in Female Club football participation • 30.4% growth in AFL 9’s participation • 7.3% overall participation growth to 254,812 participants (vs. 237,549 in 2016) • 9.3% growth in NAB AFL Auskick