On behalf of the AFL Commission, the AFL has today forwarded its 2019 financial results to the Presidents and Chairs of the 18 clubs, in the lead-up to next month's AGM to be held in Melbourne.

In his review of the year, AFL Commission Chairman Richard Goyder said that the 2019 financial year had been one of significant achievement both on and off the field.

"The success and popularity of the game can be attributed to so many at all levels – both community and elite – who contribute so much," Mr Goyder said.

"On behalf of the Commission, I congratulate and thank the boards and senior staffs of our 18 AFL Clubs for they work they do, with our players and coaches, to attract and develop members and fans of our game across the country.

"Our men's competition continues to be strong – a year of records across home and away attendance, membership (again surpassing one million paid-up fans) and participation – but the desire of women and girls to be part of our game at every level drives our growth."

Achievements included:

  • All-time attendance record for the Toyota AFL Premiership Season was broken for the third consecutive year with 6.951m people attending the 198 AFL matches.
  • AFL club membership surpassing one million members (1.057m), for a second-straight year, representing the 19th consecutive year of growth.
  • A new mark was set for national community participation with the growth in female participation significantly contributing to that increase with 586,422 women and girls playing football nationally – an increase of almost 11 per cent.
  • The expansion of AFLW - with the addition of North Melbourne and the Geelong Cats - saw record attendances with a total of 244,000 people attending matches in 2019, culminating in a capacity crowd of 53,034 at Adelaide Oval for the AFLW Grand Final.
  • An additional $18m investment in country football across the next three years to 2022, the largest investment in Victorian country football in more than two decades.

AFL Chief Financial Officer Travis Auld said the results and the overall surplus of $27.9m allowed the AFL to continue to invest at community level and the overall growth of the game.

"While our game has a strong base, this result allows the AFL to keep admission and membership prices as low as possible," Mr Auld said.

"Our game thrives because of the investment of people into Australian football, and it is our role and duty to continue to commit to strengthening the game and ensuring AFL clubs are financially secure and competitive.

"Ensuring the code is financially strong has enabled us to invest in important new initiatives such as bringing forward the early introduction of AFLW and to expand from eight to 14 clubs as well as the decision to invest $18m into community football in Victoria – which saw the removal of affiliation fees as well as an investment fund for community clubs.

"The increases in expenditure in 2019 included revenue-related increases and the increased investment in AFLW, female participation and community football expenditure," Mr Auld said.

The overall consolidated result, which includes the AFL and all of the AFL's controlled state subsidiaries, Champion Data and Marvel Stadium, produced a surplus of $27.9 million.

Other key AFL financial highlights included: 

  • The AFL's revenue increased by $15.3 million to $793.9 million, due to broadcast rights agreements and record commercial revenue. This revenue was used to fund the following investments:
  • $314.7 million to AFL clubs;
  • $58.8 million to Community football development; this is budgeted to increase in 2020 by $6 million due to the AFL's investment in Victorian Community football;
  • $37.7 million to the AFLPA;
  • $16.4m in the AFLW competition. This is budgeted to increase by $6 million in 2020 with the expansion of the AFLW competition from 10 teams to 14;
  • $17.9m to infrastructure comprising of elite and community facilities and contributions for stadia redevelopments;

Operating expenditure increased by $7.6 million (two per cent), due to revenue-related increases and increased investment in AFLW and female participation;

Distributions increased by $4 million (one per cent).

The total payments to AFL Executives and Commissioners was $10.57 million in 2019, as against $10.73 million in 2018. 

After all revenue, operating expenditure and distributions, the AFL group's surplus for 2019 was $27.9 million, compared to $25.9m in 2018 and ahead of the 2019 budget.