Queensland AFL clubs set new all-time membership records

Support for football in Queensland continues to grow with the AFL today confirming both the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS had set new all-time club membership records in 2021.

40,289 people are members of the Lions, while the Gold Coast membership base hit 19,460.

It marks the second straight year the SUNS have set a new membership record, with this year’s figure being a 20% increase on the 2020 total of 16,236. Highlighting the generational impact the club is having on the community, the biggest growth area is in junior memberships, up 49% from last year.

The Lions were one of only five Clubs to increase its membership tally by more than 10,000 members for the year 2021, with the Club membership number rising 11,012 members year on year. The Club total consisted of 1,670 AFLW members including 651 members who purchased both a men’s and women’s membership.

It comes as AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan announced a new all-time AFL Club membership record of 1,113,441 members.

In another season affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, including games with heavily reduced capacities and at times no crowds at all, it is the first time in history the total club membership number has exceeded 1.1 million.

The 1,113,441 number surpasses the record of 1,057,572 that was set in 2019. In a Covid affected 2020 Club membership reached 992,854. The 2021 total is 12 per cent growth in 2020.

The 2021 total number consists of 726,897 adults, 99,807 concessional members and 286,737 juniors. 

One in 23 Australians is a member of an AFL club.

AFL club membership has increased 28 times in the past 30 years, with the exceptions being in the year 2000, when the AFL season was moved forward by a month to accommodate the Sydney Olympics, and last year’s heavily impacted Covid-19 season.

“The connection that footy supporters have with their clubs is unmatched in world sport,” AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said.

“The Covid pandemic has meant we have had another challenging season – border closures, crowd caps, no crowds, week by week fixtures, moving matches and even home games in different states – but the one constant has been the loyalty and unwavering support of members.

“On behalf of the AFL, I want to say thank you to every single person who has signed up this year.”

Alongside Brisbane and the Gold Coast, eight of the other 18 AFL clubs broke their all-time records – Carlton, Geelong Cats, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Richmond, St Kilda, and West Coast Eagles all setting a new membership benchmark.

The West Coast Eagles exceeded 100,000 members for the second time and topped the AFL membership tally for the second straight year with 106,422 members.

Reigning Premiers Richmond passed 100,000 for the fourth year running (105,084), after becoming the first sporting club in Australian history to pass 100,000 members in 2018.

AFLW membership increased again after its fifth season, with an all-time record 25,782 members signing up. St Kilda (3119), West Coast Eagles (3081) and Adelaide Crows (2735) led the AFLW membership tally.

The official AFL club membership tally was compiled after a July 31 deadline, with growth achieved by 16 of the 18 clubs.

Essendon (+14,976), Carlton (+14,267), Melbourne (+12,617), Brisbane Lions (+11,012) and Geelong Cats (+10,227) all increased total membership by more than 10,000 members year on year.

AFL Executive General Manager Customer and Commercial Kylie Rogers congratulated the AFL clubs on their commitment to work with their fans.

“We empathise it has been a challenging year for fans to be able to attend matches, especially as we all continue to manage life amid the pandemic,” Ms Rogers said.

“The clubs have continued to find ways to engage their fanbases and bring their members into the inner sanctum.

“Regardless of the hurdles, when the opportunity has been available the members have continued to sign up and turn out, with AFL matches having nine of the top 10 attendances in Australian sport since the pandemic, including at the time, the biggest attended sporting event in the world for the Anzac Day match at the MCG.

“On behalf of the AFL and all the clubs, thank you to all the members for your ongoing support and commitment to your clubs and the game.

“Our commitment is to continue to investigate ways to get as many of you back to the footy as safely as possible, as soon as possible. We have a team working closely with the state governments and health officials on revised plans leading into the finals and beyond.”


2021 Club Totals
Adelaide Crows 60,232  
Brisbane Lions 40,289 Club Record
Carlton 81,302 Club Record
Collingwood 82,527  
Essendon 81,662  
Fremantle 50,342  
Geelong Cats 70,293 Club Record
Gold Coast SUNS 19,460 Club Record
GWS GIANTS 30,185  
Hawthorn 77,079  
Melbourne 53,188 Club Record
North Melbourne 46,357 Club Record
Port Adelaide 56,532 Club Record
Richmond 105,084 Club Record
St Kilda 55,802 Club Record
Sydney Swans 50,144  
West Coast Eagles 106,422 Club Record
Western Bulldogs 46,541  
Total 1,113,441  

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