The AFL has released the official club membership figures for 2009, totalling a staggering 586,748 (up 2% on last year)! That’s one in every forty Australians who fork out about $150 a year for their footy club. Here’s the full list:
NB: Official membership figures only include fully ticketed members.
Points to note:
- The number of bandwagon-jumping supporters at Hawthorn (up from 41,886 last year)
- A strong result for Melbourne
- St Kilda and the Dogs, while both flying on-field, haven’t yielded massive numbers
- Sydney and Brisbane’s low numbers justify arguments for, or against, the AFL’s expansion plans, depending on which way you look at it
I’m sure some people will argue that North’s figure is unimpressive, therefore justifying calls that the club is unsustainable. My response would be to ask whether North will make a profit this year, one of the toughest in the modern era. If they do, there is no argument. And before anyone mentions the AFL ‘hand-outs’, do a bit of research on the AFL’s justification – crap stadium deals.
Another critical point to bear in mind is that a 2008 Morgan Poll (reflecting the 2007 season) put North’s total supporter base at only 212,000. Even if there has been a marked increase since then, to get greater than 10% conversion rate of supporters to members is simply astounding. It is a testament to the current NMFC administration’s success in selling a vision to the North faithful.