Growing the membership pie for Aussie Rules

Sport and recreation


Australian Football League (AFL)


Need for an evidence-based framework to direct a coordinated fan-engagement strategy.


A demographic framework to identify each team's best opportunities for growth based on migration patterns of the next generation of supporters.


Confidence to commit to strategic partnerships such as Richmond Football Club with Cardinia Shire Council.

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The Australian Football League (AFL) consists of 18 teams spread over five states of Australia. The League needs to pursue a coordinated  approach to fan engagement so that the marketing activities of individual clubs expands the total AFL membership base, rather than each club competing for a larger slice of the existing pie. This is especially important in Melbourne where there are 10 teams competing for members.

To develop efficient and coordinated strategies, the AFL required a well-designed evidence-base that showed relevant demographic patterns and trends across metropolitan Melbourne and how they are changing. When combined with AFL membership data, and presented spatially, .id Placemaker provides the AFL and each club with strategic insights into the distribution of current members and where else they might effectively attract new members – now and in the future

In particular .id’s knowledge about historical and future migration flows across Melbourne provided the AFL with a framework for locating club-based activities. For example, Richmond Football Club had its second training ground based in Craigieburn in Melbourne’s north, but were struggling to gain traction with the community there.  To a demographer, it is clear why they would find this difficult ground to sow. Richmond’s natural supporter base is close to its home ground in Melbourne’s inner southeast. As the children of these supporters grow up, leave home and create families of their own, they are more likely to migrate to areas further out in the southeast suburbs of Melbourne than make a move to the north.  The demographic evidence showed that Richmond would find it far easier to establish a second presence in the southeast than the north. This insight has lead them to develop a strong relationship with Cardinia Shire Council and they are now reaping the rewards. Their membership numbers in the southeast have grown three times as fast as overall AFL membership in the last three years.

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