Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn will make the Grand Final, with Collingwood and West Coast trailing close behind.

Who is leading the Premiership race?



Ok, not the Grand Final you are thinking of…

On the eve of the 2017 AFL season, I have decided this week to research the digital marketing efforts that AFL clubs have decided to engage in over the past year, in order to capture the attention of their own fans and AFL enthusiasts alike. Capturing their attention is pivotal for sporting clubs like AFL teams, as interest drives memberships for clubs, and memberships drive revenue and therefore survival. I have identified two teams that are poised through their engagement through digital marketing to continue to engage their fans.

Starting from the top, it was a fairytale ending last year for the Western Bulldogs, who ended a 62-year premiership drought. Such an achievement has been instrumental for their survival, demonstrating a revenue increase of 17% and eradicating their debt from $8.3M to $1.9M in the space of 12 months. Such an occasion has also catapulted their opportunity to use digital marketing to produce digital content and attract their supporters. The AFL recently launched their 2017 campaign, that was completely centralised around well-known actor Chris Hemsworth and the Western Bulldogs, that has resulted in the smashing of membership records before May this year, while continuing to rise.

Use this link to see the campaign: https://www.triplem.com.au/sport/afl/news/chris-hemsworth-stars-in-brilliant-new-afl-ad

Next, Hawthorn received a similar spike in interest following their 3-peat premiership success from 2013 to 2016, giving them a $27.1M brand value, and now has the ability to market to 135k Instagram followers. Perhaps their most memorable digital marketing campaign was the launch of their 2016 finals campaign ‘Embrace The Hunt’, where their team published a video to YouTube under the alias ‘Douglas Wong’.

“Our aim was to create a real buzz around the launch of our seventh consecutive finals campaign and really get people talking”, said a Hawthorn spokesperson. Well, it worked, as the fake video generated over 5 million views in 48-hours and has been published by multiple media outlets around the world.

Collingwood and West Coast are a close 2nd and 3rd, also, due to the sheer number of supporters they are able to reach with their digital output.


Further to clubs using digital marketing to attract an audience, days ago, it was revealed recently that Snapchat owner Snap Inc has agreed to a multi-year deal with the AFL to produce “Our Stories” throughout for the competition and teams across the season, further implementing the use of digital marketing to engage fans.

“The crux of the deal is understood to be based on advertising revenue share. In it, Snapchat Our Stories will be put together by Snap, stitching together fan, athlete and league messages into one video”, writes Max Mason from the Australian Financial Review.

“We’re always thinking about how we can help our partners accomplish their goals,” Snap vice-president of partnerships Ben Schwerin told The Australian Financial Review from LA.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/business/media-and-marketing/snap-inc-and-afl-sign-multiyear-deal-20170313-guwumj#ixzz4c6qJ4fcN

Something more to read: http://www.adweek.com/digital/snapchat-australian-football-league/

Emarketers predict that Snap’s advertising revenue will increase by 157.1% over the next 12 months- definitely something to monitor.

Will you be engaging in the AFL’s Snapchat features over Opening Round?

What about your favourite sporting club or organisation? What kind of digital marketing have they participated in that has engaged you as a supporter or interested party? Have you ever been angry at your beloved club for following a marketing path that you haven’t been interested in?

I would love to know your thoughts…

Until next week,


P.S My actual ladder for this season…

  1. Greater Western Sydney
  2. Sydney
  3. Western Bulldogs
  4. West Coast
  5. Adelaide
  6. Melbourne
  7. Fremantle
  8. St Kilda
  9. Geelong
  10. Hawthorn
  11. Port Adelaide
  12. Gold Coast
  13. Collingwood
  14. Richmond
  15. North Melbourne
  16. Gold Coast
  17. Brisbane
  18. Carlton

4 thoughts on “Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn will make the Grand Final, with Collingwood and West Coast trailing close behind.

  1. When I read the title I was a little confused but it was an awesome way to integrate the advancement of digital into AFL – would be interesting to know whether the AFL would have a spike interest in their games regardless because of the huge fan base of whether the spike in memberships was due to the increased social media presence!


  2. I don’t follow footy but I can definitely see this becoming a trend, especially for younger generations that are more inclined to use their phones to follow football. Smashed it, great article.


  3. It was really interesting to research the use of digital marketing in sports codes this week, and has set a platform at how sports entertainment is a potential beneficial goldmine for digital marketers. I think this will be something that i will follow closely over the coming weeks. Thanks for your feedback!


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