Why is AFL the Most Popular Sport in Australia?

Australians love the AFL and horse racing, cricket, and rugby, which top the list of their favorite sports.

Since 1858, AFL has been one of Australia’s most watched sports, including elite Australian and international players.

A newbie learning about AFL should ask why AFL is the most popular sport in Australia and internationally.

Here are some reasons why people love AFL.

1. AFL is Deeply Rooted in Tradition

AFL has Australian roots. The game immediately expanded from Melbourne. Thus, Australian families have adopted it and passed it on.

Thousands of Australian families watch the Grand Final to cheer for their team.

In Australia and worldwide, friends and relatives organize AFL competitions. Thus, AFL has become Australia’s signature sport, replacing cricket, horse racing, and rugby.

2. Strong Rivalries Among Teams

Most people are only familiar with football derbies. Meanwhile, the rivalry between sports fans goes beyond football. AFL derbies pit local rivals against one another.

It has generated great enthusiasm around the sport, much like football, the NFL, and basketball.

Since Melbourne is home to multiple AFL clubs, it is the center of activity.

Additionally, it implies that the struggle for dominance is data-heavy, like the English rivalry between Manchester City and Manchester United.

3. People Love Contact Sports

Football, boxing, and other contact sports like football are very popular. Although AFL players do not wear protective equipment like the NFL, there are regulations to prevent injuries.

The game also uses tactical strategies to prevent tense situations from escalating.

Most significantly, players need to develop high levels of discipline and fitness to play the sport. It may be attained through regular physical activity.

4. A High-intensity Sport

The most taxing and energy-intensive sports are those with a high level of intensity. One of the sports with the highest levels of intensity is the AFL. The game is always belligerent and very competitive.

The Australian game’s regulations guarantee a full 60 minutes of play, compared to the NFL’s average stoppage time of 11 minutes.

As a result of several adrenaline rush moments, the AFL is a high-octane game that is more thrilling. There is no place for boredom when watching AFL, which has helped maintain its continuing appeal worldwide.

Over time, the sport’s level of competition has increased, and the fast-paced nature of play keeps spectators riveted to the action.

5. Attendance

Australia’s AFL is the king of live sports, with an average attendance of 32,620 per game over the home-and-away and finals seasons. That eclipses the 17,121 in the NRL.

The AFL is the most popular sport because it is thrilling to watch live, and its followers are conditioned to go to games to support their teams. It’s virtually unique and makes every other sport in the country jealous.

Even though the AFL has two more teams, its total membership of 1.19 million is much more than the NRL’s 320,000.

There are several ideas as to why this is the case, one of which is unquestionable: Victorian teams are less dependent on pokie machine money than those in New South Wales, where they account for most clubs’ funding.

A larger emphasis is consequently on signing up fans and getting them past the gates.

6. AFL is a Good Sport for Children

AFL is one of the safest games for kids since it requires less physical contact than rugby league, fostering greater hand-eye coordination and cardiovascular fitness if played correctly.

Fighting childhood obesity and fostering healthy social skills need the same thing: getting kids involved in safe and enjoyable sports.

Why is AFL So Important to Australia?

The AFL is the highest governing organization for Australian Rules football. Its goal is to substantially assist football at all levels, from youth to professional.

How Many People Outside Australia Love AFL?

Though there isn’t any actual number or statistics have been found by which we can identify the popularity of AFL around the world, there are some AFL exhibitions held outside Australia over the years, and the attendance number is listed below:-

  • Canada Vancouver, 32,789, Toronto 24,639
  • Japan Yokohama 25,000
  • New Zealand Wellington 22,183
  • China Shanghai 10,689

These crowd sizes are far larger than a typical NRL match and an NRL SOO match in Long Beach, California.

Live broadcasts of Australian rules football may be seen in New Zealand. New Zealand, China, India, South Africa, P.N.G., and the South Pacific also grow rapidly.

Do Women Love AFL?

Yes, They love AFL Because AFLW is specially designed for women to encourage their participation in sports.

Regarding their viewing preferences, over 50,000 Australians were questioned for journalist Roy Morgan’s Single Source study.

According to the report, males (1.64 million) watched more AFLW on TV than women (1.14 million), and over 750,000 people in the 50–64 age range tuned in.

What Age Group of People Loves AFL the Most?

According to a poll in Australia in 2020, persons under the age of 35 made up the majority of spectators at Australia Football League games, with 819 thousand attending.

The age group 65 and above recorded the lowest AFL-match attendance in 2020.

The COVID-19-related limitations and lockdowns influenced AFL match attendance overall in 2020. All matches played in the state of Victoria were played without spectators.


All the reasons mentioned above in the article are obvious answers to why AFL is the most popular sport in Australia. Moreover, The AFL brings in more money than any other national athletic code since it is Australia’s most popular sports league.

Tickets, memberships, broadcast rights, sponsorships, merchandising, gaming, and other money contributed to its $425 million revenue in 2012.

Given the AFL’s massive fan base, this is not shocking. In 2013, 6.4 million people watched its home and away games, while 559,000 saw the championship series.

In a nutshell, about seven million people showed up during the season.

AFL Grand Finals benefit society and the economy. It is Australia’s largest socially responsible sports business and provides great community benefits.

It’s a national treasure, a first-order emblem, and a superb indigenous game.

Golam Muktadir is a passionate sports fan and a dedicated movie buff. He has been writing about both topics for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with his readers. Muktadir has a degree in journalism and has written for several well-known publications, including Surprise Sports.