Is Richmond the Biggest Club in the AFL? The question was raised last night by Craig Hutchison on Footy Classified. The Tigers have always been a big club but Collingwood Football Club, whether we love them or hate them, has always been viewed by most as the biggest club.
So let’s go through the arguments and see if the Tigers have really dethroned the Magpies.
Home Game Attendance
Most people usually mesure the popularity of a club by their home game attendance. In this category Richmond has a massive lead on the rest of the comp as listed below:
The Tigers have been dominating the headlines since the beginning of the season. Some of those headlines are about their performance. But most are about the contractual situation of star player Dustin Martin and whether he’ll leave the club or not at the end of the year.
I think the Tigers have proven that the old saying still works. Any publicity is good publicity. Richmond FC is constantly in the news and in the conversations of AFL enthusiasts. Which is exactly what you want, from a marketing perspective, when the team is not doing great. So when they finally achieve success, the wins plus the hype create a massive marketing storm that takes over sport media.
Let’s be honest, Dusty is the Richmond Football Club. He’s averaging 30.2 disposals, 6.8 clearances, he’s kicked 26 goals and is a Brownlow
lock-in favourite. He’s also a crowd favourite, especially with the younger generation.
Richmond is now third on the ladder and are seen by many as Premiership favourites. That’s a long way from 9th…
The Tigers are one of only two clubs officially over 70K members with a current total of 72,535 members. It is to be noted that Collingwood haven’t shared their official membership total so it could be more than the Tigers but I’d doubt it. This season anyway.
We met with the Richmond cheer squad for our show Fan Love and it was quite an experience.
The Richmond Football Club has done a great job in the last few years of building relationships with several Aussie communities.
For example, Dreamtime at the ‘G during the Indigenous Round has launched the Laguntas program, giving the opportunity to young Indigenous footballers from all around Victoria to play a curtain raiser match on the Punt Road oval. Watch this year’s clash in the video below.
Is Richmond the Biggest Club in the AFL?
The Tigers are the proof that things change really quickly in the AFL. From a disastrous season last year, the Tigers have made quite the comeback. The players stepped up, the coaches stepped up and even the staff stepped up. The supporters embraced the direction of the club and everyone involved has had a smile on their face ever since.
So is Richmond the Biggest Club in the AFL right now? I don’t think it really matters. All that matters is the Premiership. If Richmond don’t win the flag and lose Dusty at the end of the season, they will be very far from the limelight for years to come. That’s a worst case scenario though.
I’m not a Richmond supporter myself but I wish them well anyway. I think they deserve it. Make the most of that window of opportunity Richmond because it could be slamming shut quicker than you think. Just ask Carlton…
by Ed Toussaint – contributor