Record ticket sales and membership figures cause surge in AFL profit growth

Featured Image: AFL Photos

The Australian Football League (AFL) has reported an operating surplus of A$ 27.7m (£14.3m/$17.9m/€16.7m) for 2023 which has been largely attributed to “booming ticket sales” and unprecedented AFL club membership numbers.

The surplus represents a A$7m increase on 2022’s total of A$20.7m, with a big part of it being put down to new attendance records being set.

A total of 7,475,145 fans attended matches during the 2023 Premiership season. This was 523,841 more than the previous record of 6,951,304 set in 2019, as the average crowd per round sat at 311,464 for last year.

There were also more blockbuster crowds in 2023 as five matches had 85,000 fans or more attend. Some nine fixtures attracted at least 80,000 spectators.

AFL club membership also reached new heights as an all-time record of 1,264,952 signed up. This was a 6.2% increase on the previous record of 1,190,671 from 2022.

According to the organisation, one in every 21 Australians is currently a member of an AFL club.

The AFL’s first gather round is thought to have contributed to the record figures.

It featured one whole round played in a single city, with Adelade hosting in 2023. The South Australia capital is set to stage the round each year until 2026.

“The inaugural Gather Round was a highlight and was the best of our game on so many levels and the interest in the round this year – and booming ticket sales – demonstrates how much fans and football families are looking forward to returning to South Australia in April to share in the experience again,” said AFL commission chair Richard Goyder.

In its financial summary, the AFL also reported a revenue increase of A$104.5m due to a combination of improved commercial returns from Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, commercial partnerships, the introduction of the gather round, and contractual increases in broadcast revenue.

The AFL’s cash balance at the end of the financial year decreased from A$178.2m to A$164.0m due to increased player payments.

The number of AFL players in the top pay bracket more than doubled last year with a record 19 earning more than A$1m.

Total player payments have grown by more than A$100m in the last decade, going from A$181.5m to A$280.8m.

Posted in SportsTagged |