BLOG | by Liam Randell

It’s been an unusual year for the AFL. So how much have the changes affected Buzz around the League?

The 2020 AFL season has been like no other. In March, the season was ‘paused’, the AFLW finals series cancelled and staff stood down. In June, players migrated to hubs and played shortened games in empty stadiums, according to an adjusted fixture list. Just how big an impact did all these changes have on overall Buzz for the AFL across the 2020 season?

Buzz is a uniquely YouGov metric that asks Australians what positive and negative things they have heard about a brand, league, team or travel location in the last two weeks. The calculation is simple; positive – negative = pts and so the score can range on a scale from -100 (all negative) to +100 (all positive).

How Much Buzz has the AFL Generated Across 2020?


The first obvious point from the charts tells us that each state has heard much more positive things said about the AFL than negative across the year, even with the challenges the league has faced in 2020.

Of the key states South Australian’s have heard the most positive things about the AFL in 2020 and particularly during the season ‘restart period’ in June and July which saw a large uplift. The AFL also has strong Buzz scores in Victoria (22.0pts) and Western Australia (17.5pts) but rated lower amongst non-traditionalist states New South Wales (9.6pts) and Queensland (8.7pts). As of now, Buzz around the AFL is the highest in South Australia (33.2pts) and Victoria (25.2pts).

Has AFL Buzz in Queensland Seen Uplift During Finals?

While Buzz around the AFL in 2020 may be the lowest in Queensland it’s not all bad news. As the chart below demonstrates, since the home and away season concluded on September 20 there has been substantial uplift in buzz around the AFL in Queensland.

During the pre-finals bye, Buzz increased from -3.7pts to 5.6pts – a large uplift of +9.3pts in the space of just one week. From the commencement of finals until preliminary final weekend the AFL saw a further uplift in Buzz in Queensland, going from 5.6pts to 18.0pts representing a huge increase of +12.3pts.

Incredibly, from the time of the home and away season concluding to the preliminary finals weekend, Buzz around the AFL in Queensland increased an astonishing +21.7pts.


Battle of the Titans: AFL Vs. NRL Buzz in Queensland

Queensland has always been a Rugby League (NRL) focused state but with the AFL hubs in Queensland, the majority of games and the AFL Grand Final taking place there, how does Buzz compare between the two codes this year?

The chart below shows that while Buzz around the NRL has remained ahead of the AFL over the last six to seven weeks in Queensland as finals approached and continued, the AFL has slowly caught the NRL showing just how big an impact the game is having in Queensland. As of October 15, Buzz for the NRL only has a narrow lead of +2.3pts. Can the AFL overtake the NRL by season’s end?


Concluding Remarks

Despite the challenges the AFL has faced in 2020, across all states Buzz has remained more positive than negative across the year. While traditional AFL states such as Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia have rated the AFL higher for Buzz compared to non-traditional states New South Wales and Queensland, Queensland has seen sharp growth since the home and away season concluded.

No doubt the increased exposure and attention the AFL is getting in Queensland in 2020 will go a long way to helping drive the support and growth of the game amongst what has traditionally been a rugby league obsessed state. Perhaps in time the AFL might be able to consistently overtake the NRL for the Buzz metric.

Photo by Daniel Anthony

BLOG | by Liam Randell

Research Analyst

Liam currently leads client facing and research services for the AFL and all 18 clubs, Tennis Australia, the NBL amongst a host of other key clients. He’s also an avid Triathlete with a love for all things sport.


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