The AFL has recorded 4.4 million users tuning into AFL Media in March, with an average of more than one million per week across the network.
Despite the ongoing suspension of the 2020 AFL Premiership season due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the AFL is also the most engaged Australian sports league on social media, with over 2.1 million reactions on the platform last week, and 4.7 million video views.
AFL Media Network head, Sarah Wyse, said the engagement numbers come from the extended, diversified offering and the AFL’s ability to remain agile in its approach to market.
“The AFL Media Network has evolved from a traditional football news publisher to a next-generation media business,” Wyse said.
“We deliver tailored platform offerings; diversified, audience-led content, strategic brand integration and optimised content delivered for our partners.
“Our primary focus is to build an emotional connection with fans, our content is powerful and drives the game forward in this unprecedented time.
“The network’s ability to retain fan engagement has come down to the ‘always on’ approach.
“We’ll continue to serve the biggest names and exclusives in football, but we’ll do that while we deliver meaningful content to keep fans entertained, informed and connected,” she said.
Wyse discussed how the AFL has been managing its approach to content during the COVID-19 crisis, with engagement opportunities through the Toyota AFL Fixture Throwback, a series of archived matches streamed across the AFL Live App and AFL.com.au and the launch of the NAB AFL Auskick at Home series.
“We’re embracing the new normal as an industry, working hard to innovate our offering and to bring new experiences to life during the shutdown period,” she said.
“Flexible working is something we pride ourselves on at the AFL, but the current COVID-19 situation has pushed us into flexible working arrangements we never thought possible.
“We are running one of the largest digital sports networks remotely, leveraging AI technology to create video content at scale, enabling us to supercharge our on-demand video offering to satisfy our fans appetite.
“Football has a special place is so many Aussie households, and while almost every sport around the world is on hold due to COVID-19, we will continue to strive to deliver the most entertaining and relevant content we can until we return to play,” Wyse concluded.
The success of the AFL Media Network is part of a three-year strategy for the AFL, aiming to change AFL.com.au from a football news publisher, to a media content business.