Total Australian Football participation in 2008 was 693,052. This was an increase of 8.5 per cent on 2007 participation (638,828) and was the third successive year in which rapid growth was achieved.
Australian Football participation only includes formal participants and players in organised competitions and programs of at least six weeks in duration – and does not include children taking part in one-off clinics.
The Australian Football Participation Census is compiled annually with data from each of the 95 AFL development regions (39 metropolitan and 56 regional). A breakdown of the 2008 participation segments reveals there were:
- 290,590 participants in club competitions.
- 163,885 participants in the NAB AFL Auskick program
- 209,773 participants in school competitions.
- 3890 participants in recreational football.
- 5928 participants in veterans’ competitions.
- 18,986 participants in dedicated female competitions.In 2008, 163,885 children participated in the program at 2913 centres around the country, with 23 per cent or 30,523 being young girls
In addition to the 693,052 participants in Australia, there are also 45,204 players overseas with key statistics showing:
- Participation in 41 countries, with 14 nations affiliated with the AFL.
- 295 teams participating across 47 leagues
- 45,204 participants (about 27,000 juniors, 8000 youth and 10,000 seniors).
In 2008, there were 209,773 students participating in primary (146,753) and secondary (63,020) school competitions and programs greater than six weeks in duration.
In 2008, inter- and intra-school teams increased by 28.6 per cent to 11,281 in competitions that where greater than six weeks in duration. The total included 8379 primary school and 2902 secondary school teams.
Community club football grew by 2.6 per cent to 290,590 participants in 2008 (99,288 juniors, 107,052 youth and 84,250 seniors). Across the country community football clubs fielded 12,024 teams, made up of 4342 juniors (aged 8-12), 4357 youth (13-18) and 3325 senior teams. All community club segments recorded growth.
Participation in dedicated female football programs and competitions grew by 54 per cent in 2008 to 18,986. Some 78,224 females participated in NAB AFL Auskick school and
community football competitions in 2008
Community-based Recreational Football competitions continued to grow in 2008 with 3900 participants. Competitions are predominantly played during the summer months with more than 70 competitions kicking off across the country in the 2008/09 summer season