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Why GWS Giants are crying out for a new AFL car sponsor (and Western Bulldogs aren't)

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015 – June 2016, sample n=50,712 Australians 14+

With the 2016 Toyota AFL Grand Final upon us, it’s time for our annual look at the ladder ranking clubs by how many of their supporters are in the market for a new car. Four AFL clubs don’t have an automotive sponsor: two have fans who are among the most likely to buy a new car soon, and one of those had a great season, Roy Morgan Research shows. Another car-free club, however, has made the Grand Final but consistently counts the fewest new car buyers among its supporters. 

Carlton and St Kilda have jointly claimed a top spot, with 17% of their supporters intending to buy a new car in the next four years. But while the Blues are partnered with Hyundai, the Saints are car-free. This is despite the club having made the top eight on the intention ladder for three years in a row, moving a bit further up the ladder each year as intention grows among its supporters. Which begs the question: where’s the car sponsor?

Another club without a car sponsor has finally earned one in 2016: a year ago, only around one in 10 Greater Western Sydney Giants supporters were in the market for a new car, landing the club near the bottom. But the rising new car intention among supporters has closely matched the club’s historic on-field success this year. 16% of Giants fans are now in the market for a new car, hoisting the club into third spot.

New car buying intentions among AFL Club Supporters

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015 – June 2016, sample n=50,712 Australians 14+

Holden-sponsored Collingwood is fourth by new car intention among supporters (15%), just ahead of six clubs tied with an above-average 14%: Brisbane (Hyundai), North Melbourne (Mazda), Essendon (Kia), West Coast (Toyota), Melbourne (with automotive retailer AHG), and Fremantle (without a car sponsor).

One club without a car sponsor has yet to prove it could be a good match for one. Despite making the Grand Final, the Western Bulldogs claimed last year's car-intention wooden spoon—and remains tied at the bottom of the ladder in 2016 with just 8% of supporters in the market for a new car.

Overall, there are around 2.3 million Aussies looking to buy a new car before 2020—and 45% of them support an AFL club.

Jordan Pakes, Industry Director – Automotive, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“There are currently around 170,000 new car buyers in greater western Sydney, the home of the Giants – one of just four clubs without a car sponsor. Although sponsored by Skoda Auto when they first entered the league, GWS’s co-major sponsors now are Virgin Australia and Toyo Tires.

“Mitsubishi and Land Rover would be a potential good fit for the club, with car buyers in Sydney’s west particularly keen on these makes – neither of which currently sponsors an AFL team.

“Of the major makes, Mitsubishi has the most footy-mad market overall, with 62% of people who intend to buy a new Mitsubishi supporting an AFL team; compared with 45% of all new car buyers.

“Holden, which already sponsors the Magpies, is also one of the top makes of choice around the Giants’ home turf. The brand might consider joining Toyota and Hyundai as a sponsor of multiple clubs in different states.

“When considering potential sport sponsorship deals, car makers would do well to ensure there is a natural alignment between the clubs’ fans and their target markets. With many deals lasting for years, even decades, sponsors must then develop metrics to monitor benefits and maximise every opportunity to turn fans into customers.”   

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Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%