Shannon Meyer takes a look at which clubs are the best followed using a range of metrics from membership numbers, to crowd figures and percentage of members by population.
Metric: Total NRL Membership Numbers and Membership Base Growth
The teams that had a negative growth were in direct competition with other sporting codes like AFL in Melbourne. The two merger clubs that finished bottom two had a negative growth – which is no surprise.
Metric: 2023 Home Attendances
Brisbane’s rise from the bottom eight to grand finalists has seen their home attendance average crack the 30,000 mark for the first time since 2018.
The Dolphins to their credit had an average crowd of around 25,000 given some of their matches were played at the reduced capacity Kayo Stadium.
If you look at stadium capacity, the resurgence of the New Zealand Warriors in the Andrew Webster era has increased their popularity while the Panthers come in second. South Sydney and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs are at the southern end of the ladder, which could suggest a move to a suburban ground would provide a better supporter experience.
There’s no surprise that regional clubs in North Queensland and Newcastle lead the way with average crowds versus population with Melbourne at the bottom end given they are trying to compete with AFL.
Metric: Social Media Exposure
Here is the result for the 2023 Best Supported NRL Team.
Brisbane – it probably isn’t a surprise given they have had an entire capital city to themselves for decades. Teams that have little geographic competition are high on the list, but South Sydney buck the trend with their second placed finish.
So perhaps that person in a Souths jersey everywhere in Australia is genuine.
The result is a culmination of all various categories we were able to find data for. It should be noted that the Panthers, Warriors, and Eels are missing their membership figures in this total.
2024 NRL Draw: Overall Rankings Vs Free-to-Air Television Matches
Using the Overall Rankings from above, we can compare this to the Australian free-to-air coverage data below to see any patterns between the best supported and amount of time on commercial television.
This is the result of combining the sets of data together.
The premier Queensland side and the heaviest supported New South Wales side are on the same level playing field with the bulk of the free-to-air exposure. Penrith comes in next with their three-peat complete. Melbourne makes the top 4.
The Dolphins sit mid-field with a need to increase their supporter base and get commercial television timeslot to promote their brand.
There is little commercial exposure for the might Dragons, with the Red V the worst off team in that department.
|South Sydney Rabbitohs
|North Queensland Cowboys
|New Zealand Warriors
|Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
|Gold Coast Titans
|St George-Illawarra Dragons