AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan today thanked AFL supporters for their passion and loyalty following the release of final crowd numbers for the 2014 Toyota AFL Premiership Season and 2014 Toyota AFL Finals Series.

In a season which saw a range of timeslots trialled, overall crowds were up on last year in both the home and away season and the Finals.

Matches during the Toyota AFL Premiership Season were attended by a total of 6,384,742 (up from 6,368,346 in 2013) and total crowds for the Finals Series were 569,843 (up from 558,034 in 2013), including 99,454 on Grand Final day.

The combined attendance for the 2014 Toyota AFL season was 6,954,585 – an increase of 28,205 on last year’s total.

“AFL club supporters are amongst the most passionate sports fans on the planet and this year that enthusiasm and love of the game is reflected in overall attendances,” Mr McLachlan said.

“The re-built and revitalised Adelaide Oval saw crowds in South Australia jump by 50 per cent on the 2013 season, demonstrating the attraction of great football combined with state-of-the-art facilities.

“Even accounting for some trials in scheduling and ticketing, which provided some valuable lessons for the AFL, supporters have backed their teams on game day.

“Crowds during the Toyota AFL Finals Series were up 2.1 per cent on last year, with fans attracted by some compelling contests in the lead-up to the Grand Final.”

Mr McLachlan said that the total TV audience achieved for the showpiece game of the season was 3.72 million people, with total reach across Australia estimated to be 6.244 million viewers – up on the 2013 Grand Final ratings.

The 2014 increase in crowds and strong year-on-year TV ratings results follows the achievement of record AFL club memberships in 2014.

Clubs reached 804,480 members nationally – the highest recorded figure in the game’s history and an increase of 47,763 on last year’s total, One in every 28 Australians is now a member of an AFL club, with 12 of the 18 clubs breaking all-time club membership records this year.

“AFL fans also engaged with the game in record numbers on digital media as the swing to mobile and tablet devices gathers pace. The 2014 AFL Grand Final saw the AFL’s Digital Network record more than 1.3 million visitors, up more than 40 per cent from the 2013 Grand Final,” Mr McLachlan said.

“I want to thank every AFL supporter for getting behind their team and favourite players throughout the 2014 season, and for their insatiable appetite for Australia’s Game.”