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Storm trumps Swans as most supported club, Roy Morgan reports

The number of NRL supporters has grown by more than 1 million from a year ago, up a massive 19% to over 6.3 million Australians aged 14+ in 2021 according to new data from Roy Morgan.

Despite the sport dealing with two COVID-interrupted seasons throughout 2020-21, support for clubs has grown with 11 of the 16 clubs experiencing an increase in support from 2020.

The Melbourne Storm is the most widely supported NRL club in 2021 with 1.2 million supporters, an increase of 28.7% on a year ago following the club’s fourth Premiership in 2020. It also trumps the AFL’s most supported club, the Sydney Swans, which has 1.031 million supporters according to Roy Morgan.

Unfortunately for the Storm there will be no repeat this year following their loss in the Preliminary Final.

In second is the Brisbane Broncos, the only other club with over 1 million supporters on 1.03 million, which saw an increase of 15% on a year ago despite the club’s first Wooden Spoon in 2020 since joining the competition in 1988.

The biggest jump in support over the past year was the Sydney Roosters with an increase in support of 39.1% to 384,000 to be just behind the St. George Illawarra Dragons up 10.6% to 387,000. Other clubs to increase their support include the Canberra Raiders, up 19.2% to 273,000, the Canterbury Bulldogs, up 20.7% to 268,000, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, up 3.9% to 267,000, the Newcastle Knights, up 5.3% to 220,000 and the New Zealand Warriors, up 27.2% to 145,000.

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The NRL was forced to relocate all 16 clubs to Queensland in July this year after outbreaks of COVID-19 in the key market of New South Wales as well as in Victoria and the ACT.

The relocation of the competition mid-season has meant most fans have had to watch the sport on TV rather than at the ground this year, and for large parts of the 2020 season as well. According to Roy Morgan more than 5.9 million (28.2%) of Australians watch the NRL on TV, up 2.8% on a year ago.

These key findings are derived from detailed in-depth interview with over 50,000 Australians each year as part of the Roy Morgan Single Source survey.

Julian McCrann, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan, said: “The Melbourne Storm have been clearly the most successful club of the last two decades making the NRL Finals for 11 years straight (2011-2021), winning three Premierships in the last decade in 2012, 2017 and 2020, and featuring in 9/15 Grand Finals and winning five of them.

“In fact, the last time the Storm missed the finals after playing a full season without a points deduction (as in 2010) was in 2002 – nearly twenty years ago.

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