The COVID-19 crisis may have forced a major shake-up of the AFL season in 2020 but it appears the pandemic did nothing to stop the growth of membership across all 18 AFL clubs.
AFL membership reached 992,854 members in 2020, which is only 6.1 per cent less than the all time record 1,057,572 set in 2019.
The Gold Coast Suns were among five clubs to break their all time records, with 16,236 members in 2020. That’s a 15 per cent increase on the previous record of 14,131 set in the Suns’ inaugural season in 2011.
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3043 members signed up since the AFL season restarted in June.
Gold Coast CEO Mark Evans said achieving a record membership this year was phenomenal.
“The Gold Coast community has really embraced our players and club this year – people are excited by what they are seeing,” he said.
“Despite the devastating impact of COVID-19, people have stuck by the club and many have signed up for the first time. We are extremely grateful for this incredible support.
“We have signed up more than 16,000 members this year and expect to see that number grow next year and beyond as the popularity of AFL in Queensland continues to skyrocket.”
The West Coast Eagles also exceeded 100,000 members for the first time to top the AFL membership tally, the first time a non-Victorian club has topped the table.
“Footy is about connection and a sense of belonging and this remarkable number demonstrates AFL members are the most passionate and loyal members across all sports.” AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said.
“The commitment members made to their clubs is a key reason why all 18 clubs were able to survive a challenging and unprecedented year.
“We have been blown away by the loyalty and commitment footy fans around the country have demonstrated this season.”
“On behalf of the AFL, I want to say thank you to every single person who signed up this year.”