AFL Clubs breach the billion dollar mark for the first time in 2018

Note: Normally we’d have written this article a lot sooner, but the Swans report was literally not available anywhere until it appear on ASIC on July 1.

After narrowly missing the mark by just $1.3 million last year the leagues eighteen clubs have crashed through the billion dollar barrier taking in a combined $1.073 billion in revenue for 2018. After AFL distributions – these can be anywhere from signage and pourage arrangements, to match returns, game buyout fees, and general financial support – were removed, the clubs generated about $766 million in revenue on their own with the clubs averaging about $59.6 million each

Leading the revenue charge was West Coast with 82.26 million in revenue, up 28% on 2017 as the move to Stadium takes effect. Richmond too breached $80 million, taking on a large increase due to a massive spike in membership income. Richmond and Hawthorn each between $70 and $80 million, while Geelong, Essendon and Carlton cleared the $60 million mark – and beat the average. At the bottom of the list was North Melbourne, the only club below $40 million in revenue, although the clubs immediately above it were GWS and Gold Coast who each took more than half their revenues from the AFL.

Clubs reported a total of $69.7 million in total profits for 2018 with 17 of the leagues clubs reporting a profit through various means. Only one club reported a loss in 2018, with GWS reported a $1.9 million loss for 2018, although several clubs sold assets or received funds which definitely assisted them – the Saints $10m profit includes $13m in development funding, while the Demons $6.9m profit was made possible by the $7m sale of the Leighoak club.

AFL Clubs took in $269 million in membership and gate revenue for 2018, up more than 12% on 2017. Here West Coast again set a new standard taking in $34 million in membership and gate revenue, with Richmond coming in second on just under 30 million. Collingwood, Adelaide and Fremantle all finished with more than $20 million in membership and gate revenue. GWS finished on the bottom with its 4 million in membership and gate revenue also including its merchandise revenue.

The Leagues clubs took in $217 million in sponsorship revenues , headed by the Magpies with $21 million, followed by Sydney, Adelaide, Essendon, Hawthorn, Richmond and Carlton – who all turned over at least $15 million. Gold Coast and St Kilda have less than $7 million – with Gold Coast also including income from its management rights at Metricon – and although West Coast and Fremantle do have low sponsorship reported, they do have massive corporate support (West Coast did $13 million in corporate hospitality alone at its matches)

According to their reports the Clubs received $283 million from the AFL in 2018, up from $277 million in 2017, although the AFL Annual Report says hese distributions totalled $307.2 million,(an increase of $2.6 million compared with 2017). Distributions consisted of a base distribution to all clubs which totalled $194.5 million; and variable distributions, which totalled $72.0 million. indicate that distributions total. The AFL made distributions to the clubs including but not limited to AFLW, travel subsidies, prizemoney, AFL membership-related distributions, AFL commercial partner payments, AFL-facilitated stadium payments and licensing distributions.

The list of reciepients is headed by the Queensland clubs, followed by GWS and St Kilda, who all received $20+ million in 2018 from the league as they battle financial issues.  While West Coast, Hawthorn, Collingwood, Fremantle and Geelong recieved little more than the base payment from the league at just over $11 million each.

AFL clubs declared pokie and social club venue revenues of more than $112 million in 2018 – with clubs owned by Collingwood, Carlton and Hawthorn taking in more than $19 million each, while the Lions club produced $16 million. 8 clubs reported profits of more than $15 million, with Hawthorn not divulging costs. Collingwood the runaway leaders on pokie profits – taking more than $6 million in 2018. The Pies have since announced they will be divesting themselves of pokies along with Geelong and Melbourne. Adelaide, Fremantle, Gold Coast, West Coast, Sydney and Greater Western Sydney do not profit from poker machines.

The AFL itself declared $778 million in revenue with a profit of $50.4 million, including broadcast revenues of $391 million and commercial revenue of $272 million. This includes revenue from the Docklands stadium. In addition to the club distributions, thhe league spent $46 million in development funding, $35 million on the AFLPA and $9 million on facilities funding.

Full list of comparisons and rankings, as well as links to the clubs annual reports can be found here.







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