The AFL might not garner a whole lot of attention overseas, but in Australia it’s about as popular as sport gets, and attendances are indicative of this. It regularly finds itself in the top five domestic sporting leagues globally in terms of average attendance figures courtesy of its immense popularity and the big stadiums it’s played at – so just which are the most popular stadiums in the AFL?
The MCG is the home of Australia’s favourite game and has been for over 100 years. Known affectionately as ‘The ‘G’, the Melbourne Cricket Ground was built way back in 1853, but since then it has unsurprisingly changed fairly dramatically and is now comfortably the biggest stadium in Australia.
Nowadays, it can hold roughly 100,000 screaming fans, something which it does on each and every Grand Final Day as well as a couple of other milestone games throughout the year. In the past, when regulations about attendances were less strict, it used to hold even more – in 1970 an incredible 121,696 supporters packed into the G for a game between old rivals Carlton and Collingwood.
Optus Stadium is the newest to be used by the AFL, but everybody who either visits there or plays there gives nothing but positive reviews. The ground is situated on the Swan River in Perth, and was completed late in 2017, the year after which both Perth-based AFL teams, West Coast and Fremantle, relocated there. With the Eagles competing for the AFL Premiership and the Dockers on the improve, it has quickly become an intimidating trip for opposing sides.
It holds a little over 60,000 people, which may sound modest in comparison to the MCG but is still enough to make it the second largest stadium used by the AFL. As yet, they haven’t cracked the 60,000 mark in the AFL, though they did manage that number for a Rugby Union game between the Wallabies and the All Blacks.
The Adelaide Oval has been around for close to 150 years, and is widely regarded as one of the most picturesque cricket stadiums in the world. Of course, during the winter it’s used for footy and is the home ground of both Adelaide and Port Adelaide.
The record crowd here is 62,543, a number reached back in 1965 for the SANFL Grand Final, but nowadays that number of people aren’t allowed in. The capacity is officially around 55,000 courtesy of a giant new stand at one end of the ground, while at the other end the powers that be have sacrificed a few ticket sales to maintain one of the ground’s best features – The Hill. The Hill, as you might have guessed from the name, is a small hill behind the goals at one end on which fans can sit during games. It’s one of the most loved features of the ground, and the vision of fans sitting there watching professional sport resembles something out of a bygone era.
Of course, there are a number of other great AFL stadiums – the SCG is iconic, while the Gabba certainly grew in popularity after hosting last year’s AFL Grand Final. The three mentioned above, however, are the biggest and the loudest, and can lay claim to being the most popular stadiums for one of the most attended sports on the planet.