Australian rules football league AFL Women’s has broken its all-time club membership record with 21,319 members.

The milestone marks the fifth consecutive year that membership has increased since the league kicked off in 2017.

The new record surpasses the previous figure set last season of 20,849, with eight AFLW clubs achieving record membership in season 2021, including Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Geelong, Gold Coast and Western Bulldogs.

The news follows another week of strong crowd attendance numbers, with four sold-out games in round two, and 3,417 fans at the game between Western Bulldogs and Carlton. There have now been seven sold-out matches across the first two-weeks of the 2021 AFLW competition.

AFL head of women’s football Nicole Livingstone said: “I want to acknowledge the passion and dedication of everyone in the football community in supporting the 2021 NAB AFL Women’s Competition.

“It’s fantastic to see football fans from across the country show their support for the NAB AFLW competition and get behind their teams, whether that be through club membership, attendance at games or tuning in at home, thanks to the continued support of our broadcast partners, Seven, Fox and Telstra.

“The fifth season of AFLW has already experienced a strong start, with high ratings, high scores, sold-out matches and now record AFLW Club membership numbers, so we’re excited to see this energy for female football continue to grow throughout the rest of the 2021 season.”

AFLW club memberships are still available for purchase for the 2021 season, with members gaining free entry to home matches throughout the year.

In addition, the sport has seen a total average audience of over 1.7 million tuning into the broadcasts for rounds one and two of the competition – an increase of nine per cent compared to the same time in 2020.

The opening match between the Western Bulldogs and Carlton last Friday night recorded an average audience of 265,000 viewers, a 12 per cent rise compared to round two in 2020, marking the largest ever Friday night audience recorded outside season openers.

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