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News media scores the winner

We’re well into the footy season with some big events getting closer. LANCE CLATWORTHY takes a look at the make up and spending behaviour of both NRL and AFL supporters – they provide some differing opportunities for advertisers in clothing, entertainment events and child care in particular. Plan your diaries In the first game of the…

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We’re well into the footy season with some big events getting closer. LANCE CLATWORTHY takes a look at the make up and spending behaviour of both NRL and AFL supporters – they provide some differing opportunities for advertisers in clothing, entertainment events and child care in particular.


Plan your diaries

In the first game of the State of Origin 2017, the Maroons entertain the Blues at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday 31st May. The Aussie Rules Football progresses with the AFL Grand final on Saturday 30th September and the NRL Grand final follows on Sunday 1st October. Let’s take a look at the two different footy codes, their supporters, how news media reaches them, how it engages them and which products/services deliver the best advertising efficiencies.

We’re a fickle lot

With 6m supporters, the AFL trumps the NRL which boasts 4.6m. Their demographic make-up shows a similar age profile with some 70 per cent being aged 35 or over. However, AFL supporters  (61%) are more metro based than NRL supporters (49%), while the AFL also appeals slightly more to women. 1 in 3 AFL supporters also support an NRL club, with NRL supporters showing a higher  inclination to also support an AFL team.

Winning the Grand Final is proven as a shot in the arm for the supporter base of the celebrating club. Cronulla Sharks won the NRL in 2016, 6 months later 65,000 more people claimed they were supporters – the season’s wins had increased the club’s claimed supporter base by +33 per cent compared to the year before. And looking at the AFL we see a +41 per cent increase in Western Bulldogs supporters following their 2016 win. Although NRL fans increased by +3%, the overall supporters bases have remained largely static with the implication that club supporters seem guilty of jumping ship to follow the party. Why not!

The chart below, shows us the supporter base of each of the clubs across the two codes – Broncos (1.2m), Swans (1.1m), Cowboys (1.0m) and Storm (0.9m) are the biggest clubs by a country mile.



News media reaches over 90% of supporters

News media engages the huge majority of NRL fans (92%) and AFL fans  (93%) with newspapers remaining the preferred format. While 60 per cent of aged 14+ read metro newspapers, we see that 70 per cent of AFL supporters do so. NRL readership of metro papers (63%) is higher than the average Australian, but the supporters’ urban/rural skew is reflected in the fact that 23 per cent of them read regional print.


Reading more papers, reading more sections

Supporters aren’t just reading more papers than the average Australian, they’re also reading more sections – more engaged readers providing more value for the right advertisers. NRL readers are more inclined to read the nation’s top sections, but this is even more evident with AFL supporters – Sport (46%), Arts and entertainment (44%), Travel (39%) and Property (38%) are all read significantly more by AFL supporters than the average aged 14+.



Spending more on groceries

Whereas the average Australian spends $296/week on groceries per household member, AFL supporters who read news media spend $300 while NRL fans spend $303.INFOGRAPHIC_AFL V NRL 2017_CHART 3 (2)

Child care service, entertainments and clothes

So who’s the “right advertiser” to most benefit from the use of news media? Well clothes advertising looks like a stand out. There are 6m AFL supporters and they’re significantly more likely to be in the top 20 per cent of spenders for Hosiery (+16%), Women’s footwear and clothing (+12%), Men’s footwear and clothing (+11%) and Watches, jewellery and accessories (+9%). This spending bias is actually a reflection of the geography of the supporter base – Melburnians/Victorians tend to spend more on women’s clothing whereas the skew on men’s clothing (+11%) can be attributed to South Australians as is the case with Leisure/sport equipment/fees (+9%).

Similarly, NRL supporters have spending skews which reflect those of NSW and QLD. NRL supporters are 20 per cent more likely to be spending big on child care services with Cinema (13%) and Concerts, theatres, museums, night clubs and other social/cultural events (+11%) – that’s a reflection of NSW as well. And they’re 16 per cent more likely to be top spenders on Heath and medical – that’s a reflection of QLD.


A few more facts relating to footy supporters:-

  • 54 per cent of South Australians support a footy team with a huge 52 per cent supporting AFL – They’re the biggest footy supporters
  • 49 per cent of Victorians support an AFL team
  • 41 per cent of Queenslanders support an NRL team
  • 35 per cent of NSW support an NRL team
  • 2.5m attend live AFL matches
  • 1.2m attend live NRL matches
  • 607k footy supporters gamble online at least monthly

Big on footy, big on spending and big on reading news media

Footy generates an interest and passion for 48 per cent of Australians and that passion is reflected in supporters’ engagement with news media – more of them read news media, more of them read papers and they read more newspaper sections too – not just Sports. So footy supporters are an attractive proposition for advertisers, with clothing (AFL), entertainment events and child care (NRL) likely to give more bang for the buck. Get planning to make the most of the opportunity as the season continues to heat up.


Source: emma™ 12 months to February 2017. Readership based on last four weeks. Survey conducted by Ipsos MediaCT, people 14+ ; Nielsen DRM February 2017, People 14+ only



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