Australian Football continues to be the number one sport of choice for Territorians, with more than 60,000 people, or almost a quarter of the Territory’s population, involved in our game in 2017.
For the first time in our history, direct participation resulted in 44,729 players and program participants, which is a 6% rise on the same data collected in 2016.
This figure is the most per-capita of any State/Territory, signifying the great love for our game shared by the Northern Territory (NT).
Add to this, the 15,864 participants engaging in AFL promotional activities, then it is more than 60,000 people involved in our game in the past year.
A breakdown of the data shows 28,484 participants are from non-metropolitan areas including Alice Springs and remote regions like East and West Arnhem, Barkly and Katherine.
Off the back of the success of the inaugural AFLW season and the establishment of female leagues in remote regions such as Gove, as well as the most recent establishment of an NT Thunder Women’s team, female participation continued to show significant growth to record more than 15,000 female participants in the NT.
This translates to a 15% growth on 2016 data, with women and girls now making up 34.3% of all AFL participants in the Territory.
With the addition of new inter-school competitions, school football grew significantly in 2017, with an incredible 95.1% growth or 1,715 participants.
On top of this, there was a further 3.2% growth in school programs taking the number of students involved in school programs over the 20,000-participant mark.
AFL Northern Territory (AFLNT) Manager of Game Development Emily Wastle said it was pleasing so many people in the NT continued to embrace AFL.
“It gives me great pride to see how ingrained footy is in people’s lives up here and to know almost a quarter of the population love our game as much as we do makes our work more enjoyable.
“Through the effort of our AFLNT game development staff, remote development managers and external partners like school ambassadors, we have competitions, programs and ways to get involved no matter where you live.
“With thanks to our program partners and sponsors this means all Territorians have an opportunity to participate in our great game,” she said.
There are now 700 accredited coaches and 443 accredited umpires in the NT, both positions that are vital to keep the game running.
Nationally, there was a 10.24% rise in AFL participants across Australia, taking the total number to 1,547,915 people.
Like in the NT, the growth of AFL has come largely from the emergence of female competitions with 1,690 dedicated female teams nation-wide or an increase of 76% in female teams compared to 2016.
“It is important to us to invest in the female space so that aspiring female footballers have the same opportunities as their male counterparts,” Wastle said.
“The work being rolled out at clubs across the Tertitory and at the NT Thunder Academy will ensure the NT continues to be well represented nationally in both the male and female programs, and the AFLNT game development staff and programs have a big part to play in this,” she said.
People wanting a breakdown of the NT participation figures are encouraged to download this infographic.
People wanting a breakdown of the national AFL participation figures are encouraged to download this infographic.
2017 NT participation highlights:
Overall participation – 44,729 (6% Growth)
- Metropolitan (Darwin/Darwin Rural only) – 16,245
- Non-Metropolitan - 28,484
- Overall female participation – 15,354
Total competition participants – 12,292 (2.3% Growth)
- Participants in community club competitions – 10,517
- School competition participants – 1,715
- Female club participants – 1,847
Total program participants – 32,437 (7.45% Growth)
- Participants in Club Carnivals/Events - 4,803
- Auskick Participation - 7,134
- School program participation – 20,500
Total promotional activity reach – 15,684 (20.9% Growth)
- Students visited with a player appearance – 6,608