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AFL Rebounds Financially In First Season Post-Pandemic

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AFL Rebounds Financially In First Season Post-Pandemic

The AFL’s financial performance in 2022 saw a large rebound from the previous year, with the league reporting a significant increase in revenue by AUD$131.8 million and a record-breaking operating profit.

The increase in commercial returns have been attributed to the investment in Marvel Stadium, sponsorships, and broadcasting played a crucial role in the league’s financial success.

The AFL’s underlying operating profit for the year was AUD$20.7 million, a stark contrast to the underlying operating loss of AUD$46.1 million in the previous year.

Where the increase of AUD$66.8 million was a result of various factors, including improved revenue streams and the successful expansion of the NAB AFLW competition.

Commenting on the AFL’s financial performance, AFL CFO, Travis Auld, said: “Our balance sheet remains strong, and despite the significant cash cost required to deliver the AFL and two AFLW seasons, the co-ordinated effort to reduce the industry cost base and protect revenues means the AFL was able to report a cash surplus for the financial year.”

“The focus remains on the rebuild and strengthening of the industry balance sheet that will enable future investment in the growth and development of our game from grassroots through to the elite platforms, while still investing significant funding into player mental health and welfare initiatives which remain well above pre-Covid levels,” he said.

In 2022, the AFL invested a total of AUD$489.8 million, with the majority of funds going towards AFL clubs, game development, and the NAB AFLW competition.

The league also allocated a significant portion of its budget towards infrastructure development and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

The expansion of the NAB AFLW competition, which included the introduction of four new teams and the completion of two home and away seasons, was a significant contributing factor to the increase in operating expenditure, which rose by AUD$63.0 million.

Despite the increase in expenditure, the AFL’s ability to generate large returns enabled the league to distribute AUD$36.5 million more to its clubs.

On the league’s expenditure, AFL commission chair, Richard Goyder, said: “During the year the AFL Commission acted to entrench 10 per cent of all football revenue to invest back into game development and community football, acknowledging the importance the grassroots level and the thousands of volunteers have on not only the elite game but the ability to bring communities together and provide a sense of belonging.”

“We need an oval a week every week for the next five years to support the growth in participation, particularly among women and girls, and this investment will enable us to continue to partner with Governments at all levels to provide more inclusive and gender appropriate facilities and welcoming environments for all participants,” he said.

At the end of the financial year, the AFL’s cash balance sat at AUD$178.2 million, which included AUD$60.2 million owed to the AFL Players Association for a share in revenue between 2017 and 2021.

Additionally, total payments to AFL executives increased to AUD$11.8 million, compared to the AUD$10.4 paid in 2019 before the pandemic.

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