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AFLW Hits The Mark

2 minute read | Ben Allen, Senior Manager, Nielsen Sports and Ellen Purvis, Senior Account Executive, Nielsen Sports | March 2019

AFLW has enjoyed an eventful season with two expansion teams and the recent media furore around the treatment of players on social media. Ahead of this weekend’s 2019 AFLW Grand Final, Nielsen has used SportsLink and our women’s sport research to look at the growth in popularity and fan support for players as role models.

Popularity & Avidity

Among women’s sport fans, AFLW has the highest avidity of all domestic female leagues. 2018 saw a slight dip in the interest for AFLW. However, interest in 2019 has soared to its highest level with 69% of AFL fans interested in the women’s competition.

AFLW is becoming increasingly familiar and an integral part of the national sporting calendar. Sixty-four percent of Australians are aware of the league and unsurprisingly these numbers increase further among fans of women’s sports – with 74% being aware of AFLW and 36% identifying as avid fans.

True Role Models

Eighty percent of the Australian population agree that female sporting athletes can be positive role models in society, with this increasing to 90% among fans of women’s sport. Daisy Pearce and Erin Phillips are the most familiar and popular players in the league, with Phillips more familiar with avid AFLW fans and Pearce better-known among the general population.

What’s Next?

Currently, 42% of AFL fans are interested in AFLW but don’t follow one of the 10 clubs. However with four new teams entering in 2020 (including West Coast and Richmond – the AFL’s most recent premiers and two of the highest supported clubs), interest and avidity in the league will likely grow even further in 2020. With rapid on-field growth, growing fan popularity and its stars becoming increasingly prevalent in the public eye, AFLW is perfectly set to go from strength to strength.

Nielsen Sports’ SportsLink focuses on understanding Australians’ sports, entertainment, arts and cultural interests. It has a particular focus on sports and deep-dives into fan engagement, behaviours and sponsor recall of Australia’s top professional codes. Cost-effective and customisable, SportsLink helps you to understand who is connected to your sport, benchmark against others and monitor how interests are changing.

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