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Footy finals to provide $595 million boost to local industries

06 September, 2013

With the AFL and NRL finals fast approaching, business information analysts at IBISWorld forecast Aussie fans will fork out $595.6 million on football finals celebrations – an increase of 6.3 per cent from last year's $560.3 million.

IBISWorld general manager (Australia) Karen Dobie flagged liquor retailers, pubs and bars, and sports betting operators as the anticipated biggest winners from this year's footy finals spending.

"While the controversy that has surrounded this year's football seasons has thrown up a number of challenges for both codes and the clubs involved, the AFL and NRL are powering on and both finals series are expected to draw in record viewership and attendance," Dobie said.  

"This year, there are fewer interstate teams in both codes, which is expected to soften tourism spending. However, growing consumer sentiment is expected to see fans throw caution to the wind, with thousands splashing out on game tickets, big-screen TVs, new barbecues, alcohol and a bet or two during the series."

Forecast footy finals spending in Australia 2013

Football finals spending in Australia


($ million)


($ million)

($ million)

Total growth from previous year


Share of yearly spend (%)

Liquor retailers







Pubs and bars






  Domestic tourism













Ticket sales






Appliances and electrical goods














Pubs, bars and liquor sales

Following the negotiation of monster TV deals for both codes, which will see all finals telecast live, IBISWorld anticipates more Australians than ever will plan and attend finals festivities this year, which will benefit pubs, bars and liquor retailers. 

"Social gatherings at a bar or at home will remain a high priority for many footy fans, and with this comes the inevitable spend on alcohol. This year, IBISWorld expects spending at liquor retailers to jump 6.5 per cent to $165 million, while spend at pubs and bars will rise by 6.4 per cent to reach $149 million," Dobie said.


With less interstate teams represented in both codes, IBISWorld expects tourism expenditure to fall by 1.3 per cent compared with last year to reach $74 million.

"Less interstate clubs in the finals means fewer fans travelling to cheer on their team, lowering demand for airlines, accommodation providers, restaurants, cafes and other auxiliary benefiters of the visitor economy," Dobie said.

Sports betting

This year, Australians are expected to flutter $128 million during the football finals series – an increase of 14.7 per cent from 2012 – with growth expected to be driven by betting available online and through mobile devices, and the growing variety of betting options.

"The first goal or try, most possessions, most tackles, leading team at half-time, point difference, and best on ground (Norm Smith / Clive Churchill medal) are just some of the newer options that fans watching around the country can bet on from their smartphones," Dobie said.

IBISWorld expects the AFL will draw the biggest share of the pie, accounting for over 60 per cent of betting spend ($77.7 million), while the NRL will draw $50.3 million.

Ticket sales

In 2013, IBISWorld expects fans will fork out $8.9 million on footy finals tickets, with over 1 million Aussies expected to attend a finals match.

Of this spend, $5.4 million is expected to land in the pockets of AFL promoters, with 710,000 Aussies anticipated to attend AFL matches – an increase of about 20 per cent from last. The NRL is expected to accrue $3.5 million from ticket sales, with 350,000 Aussies attending matches.

"The AFL has historically drawn almost double the number of attendees to that of NRL largely due to the size of the stadiums, affordability of tickets and the popularity of the clubs represented," said Dobie. 

"This year more Victorian sides are represented in the AFL finals. The inclusion of Carlton and Richmond is expected to provide a big boost to ticketing, with these teams having the third- and fourth-largest member numbers and average attendance rates. Neither Carlton nor Richmond was in the 2012 finals so fans are expected to come out in force," added Dobie. 

This year, AFL promoters have increased seating categories to include cheaper seats for the first two rounds (down 13 per cent in price for the cheapest seat). This is expected to boost attendance numbers for the early finals.


Footy finals barbecues are expected to remain a firm favourite among Aussie fans unable to make it to a live game. IBISWorld expects appliance retailers will receive a boost of $70.7 million during this year's finals series, as hosts splash out on a new BBQ or big-screen TV.

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