AFL CHIEF Executive Gillon McLachlan today announced a new all-time AFL Club membership record of 1,113,441 members.

In another season affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, including games with heavily reduced capacities and at times no crowds at all, it is the first time in history the total club membership number has exceeded 1.1 million.

The 1,113,441 number surpasses the record of 1,057,572 that was set in 2019. In a Covid affected 2020 Club membership reached 992,854. The 2021 total is 12 per cent growth in 2020.

The 2021 total number consists of 726,897 adults, 99,807 concessional members and 286,737 juniors. 

One in 23 Australians is a member of an AFL club.

On behalf of the AFL, I want to say thank you to every single person who has signed up this year

- AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan

AFL club membership has increased 28 times in the past 30 years, with the exceptions being in the year 2000, when the AFL season was moved forward by a month to accommodate the Sydney Olympics, and last year's heavily impacted Covid-19 season.

"The connection that footy supporters have with their clubs is unmatched in world sport," AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said.

"The Covid pandemic has meant we have had another challenging season - border closures, crowd caps, no crowds, week by week fixtures, moving matches and even home games in different states – but the one constant has been the loyalty and unwavering support of members.

"On behalf of the AFL, I want to say thank you to every single person who has signed up this year."

Ten of the 18 AFL clubs broke their all-time records - Brisbane Lions, Carlton, Geelong Cats, Gold Coast SUNS, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Richmond, St Kilda, and West Coast Eagles all setting a new membership benchmark.

The West Coast Eagles exceeded 100,000 members for the second time and topped the AFL membership tally for the second straight year with 106,422 members.

Reigning Premiers Richmond passed 100,000 for the fourth year running (105,084), after becoming the first sporting club in Australian history to pass 100,000 members in 2018. 

AFLW membership increased again after its fifth season, with an all-time record 25,782 members signing up. St Kilda (3119), West Coast Eagles (3081) and Adelaide Crows (2735) led the AFLW membership tally.

Brisbane fans cheer their side's AFLW Grand Final win over Adelaide in 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The official AFL club membership tally was compiled after a July 31 deadline, with growth achieved by 16 of the 18 clubs.

Essendon (+14,976), Carlton (+14,267), Melbourne (+12,617), Brisbane Lions (+11,012) and Geelong Cats (+10,227) all increased total membership by more than 10,000 members year on year.  

AFL Executive General Manager Customer and Commercial Kylie Rogers congratulated the AFL clubs on their commitment to work with their fans.

"We empathise it has been a challenging year for fans to be able to attend matches, especially as we all continue to manage life amid the pandemic," Ms Rogers said.

"The clubs have continued to find ways to engage their fanbases and bring their members into the inner sanctum.

"Regardless of the hurdles, when the opportunity has been available the members have continued to sign up and turn out, with AFL matches having nine of the top 10 attendances in Australian sport since the pandemic, including at the time, the biggest attended sporting event in the world for the Anzac Day match at the MCG.

"On behalf of the AFL and all the clubs, thank you to all the members for your ongoing support and commitment to your clubs and the game.

"Our commitment is to continue to investigate ways to get as many of you back to the footy as safely as possible, as soon as possible. We have a team working closely with the state governments and health officials on revised plans leading into the finals and beyond."

2021 Club Membership Totals

 CLUB

2021 TOTAL

Adelaide Crows

60,232

Brisbane Lions

40,289 (club record)

Carlton

81,302 (club record)

Collingwood

82,527

Essendon

81,662

Fremantle

50,342

Geelong Cats

70,293 (club record)

Gold Coast SUNS

19,460 (club record)

GWS GIANTS

30,185

Hawthorn

77,079

Melbourne

53,188 (club record)

North Melbourne

46,357 (club record)

Port Adelaide

56,532 (club record)

Richmond

105,084 (club record)

St Kilda

55,802 (club record)

Sydney Swans

50,144

West Coast Eagles

106,422 (club record)

Western Bulldogs

46,541

TOTAL

1,113,441