Melbourne, September 28: Footy fever has swept across Victoria as the AFL Grand Final Footy Festival kicks off at the MCG.

With four days of free activities in the lead up to the big decider the whole family can enjoy at the festival.

The AFL Grand Final Footy Festival has something for everyone – Footy competitions for kids, live broadcasts on the big screens, great food and lots of giveaways.

Footy fans will get a chance to rub shoulders with the champions of the game, and get up close and personal with the AFL’s best-known broadcasters as they debate who will take home the 2016 AFL Premiership Cup.

Travis Auld, General Manager – Clubs and AFL Operations said that, “There’s no better time of the year to be in Melbourne than Toyota AFL Grand Final Week.

“The Foxtel Footy Festival and AFL Live Site gives fans of all ages the chance to soak up the atmosphere as anticipation grows for the big day.”

Players from the competing teams will set off for the traditional Grand Final Parade from the Old Treasury Building at noon on Friday, before a presentation in the heart of Yarra Park.

Saturday’s AFL Grand Final is shaping up to be a historic Battle Royale

As the Western Bulldogs break their 55-year Grand Final drought to meet Finals habitués – the Sydney Swans, Roy Morgan reviews how the teams’ supporters stack up against each other.

The most immediately striking difference between the two teams’ fan bases is the size of each.

As of June 2016, the Swans were the AFL’s most popular team, with 1.1 million supporters (or a mighty 14.5% of the country’s total footy fans!), while Bulldogs fans numbered some 249,000 – or 3.3% of all AFL supporters.

The Doggies may have fewer supporters, although their performance during this Finals series will no doubt win them some more, but they do boast the League’s most gender-balanced fan base: 49.9% men and 50.1% women.

Swans supporters vs Bulldogs supporters: vital stats. Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016, Base: Australians 14+ who support Sydney Swans or Western Bulldogs

In contrast, 58.4% of Sydney supporters are men and 41.6% women.

When it comes to the strength of their fans’ commitment, Roy Morgan data suggests that passions will be running particularly high among Western Bulldogs supporters this Saturday; not simply because their team is in its first Grand Final for over half a century; but due to:

  1. strong 16.3% paid-up Doggie members (compared with 4.8% of Sydney Swans fans).
  2. 32.1% Doggies attend AFL matches (vs 26.7% of Swans) and
  3. 75.3% watch the AFL on TV (vs 65.1%).

Bulldogs supporters are also more than twice as likely as Swans fans to play Australian Rules footy (10.4% vs 4.4%) themselves, according to Roy Morgan.

And the differences between Bulldogs and Swans supporters don’t stop there.

Delving into Roy Morgan’s attitudinal and behavioural data reveals that Doggie fans are more intellectual than stylish and trendy than palate lovers with their choice of organic food and habitual cleaning routines.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“…Unlike some years, when both groups of fans share many similarities, Bulldogs and Swans fans are noticeably different.

“One key difference is how much more involved Bulldogs supporters are with AFL, being over three times more likely than Sydney supporters to be financial members of their club, as well as showing greater inclination to attend matches and watch them on TV”.

Considering Bulldogs hasn’t been in a Grand Final for 55 years, this makes sense, “you’ve got to be very committed to stick it out with a perpetual underdog!”

Last year’s new-look Parade was a stunning success, as record crowds lined the streets to wish their heroes well.

Getting to the AFL Grand Final Footy Festival is easy with the Free Tram Zone and added additional Metro and V/Line trains to help footy fans from Victoria and around the country enjoy Australia’s favourite sporting spectacle.

Grand Final Friday is not only a great chance to spend valuable time with family and friends, it’s a big boost for small businesses and tourism operators in Melbourne and all over regional Victoria with overnight intrastate trips to Victoria increasing 64 per cent to 265,000 for the Grand Final weekend.

Raj Kumar

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