The Match-Up: Finder’s NRL comparison – Best-supported clubs
We analyse the figures to find which is the best-supported club.
With the NRL back bigger and better than ever, we thought we'd do what we do best at Finder and start comparing everything NRL. Each week we take a look at one aspect of the game, from the spectacular to the silly, to see who comes out on top.
Ahead of tonight's big clash at the SCG between the Roosters and the Broncos, we take a look at the NRL's best-supported clubs.
Finder's Thursday Night Football – Sydney Roosters v Brisbane Broncos, 7:50pm, Sydney Cricket Ground
Nothing stirs debate like arguing which team has the best supporters. While every club has its fair share of diehards and fairweather fans, we've run the stats on most supporters, biggest member base and home attendance to find out which club can claim bragging rights as the NRL's best-supported club.
It's an obvious choice, but the Broncos have been an NRL powerhouse for years and have the supporter numbers to prove it.
There are currently around 1.09 million Broncos fans, according to the annual Roy Morgan NRL supporter ladder from September last year. This also makes them the second most supported club in Australian sport, behind only the Sydney Swans.
The club also has the most members of any side, according to the NRL, with 32,368 signed up at the time of writing. This makes them the only club with more than 30,000 members, a level they've maintained since 2015.
They're also the only club with an average home attendance above the magical 30,000 mark, with 31,234 supporters on average making their way to Suncorp during the 2018 season, according to Footy Industry.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Australia's most successful rugby league club in terms of first grade premierships, Souths have a proud tradition as one of the best-supported clubs in the NRL, with roughly 410,000 supporters, according to Roy Morgan.
Despite having to wait 43 years to end their premiership drought and spending 3 years in the league wilderness between 1999 and 2002, they also currently have 28,527 members, according to the NRL, giving them the most of any Sydney club.
The Bunnies also had an average home attendance of 18,351 during the 2018 season, third behind the Broncos and Newcastle Knights.
Like the Broncos, the Storm have the benefit of being the only club in town, but their supporter numbers are some of the fastest-growing around.
The Melbourne club now boast 1.05 million supporters, according to Roy Morgan, a staggering 26.7% increase on their 2017 numbers, and off the back of their dominant grand final win. This makes them the third most supported football club in the country, an impressive achievement given Melbourne isn't a traditional league heartland.
The Storm also have 22,640 members, trailing only the Broncos and Rabbitohs, and managed a healthy home attendance average of 17,293 in the 2018 season.
The reigning wooden spooners may have been disappointing on the field in 2018, but off the field their supporter base is up there with the best of any Sydney club.
Despite recent woes, Parra have 411,000 fans, according to Roy Morgan. While they slightly trail local rivals Wests Tigers, who have 419,000 supporters, they get the nod here due to their impressive member numbers.
The Eels currently boast 23,674 members, according to the NRL, putting them third behind the Broncos and Rabbitohs, and well ahead of the Tigers on 19,204.
What makes this even more impressive is that the Eels also currently hold the longest premiership drought of any club, having not won the league since 1986. Talk about loyal fans.
While their home attendances have suffered in recent years, their upcoming move to the spectacular Western Sydney Stadium should see an end to that.
They may have the benefit of being from a one-team city and the biggest club in league-loving Queensland, but there's no taking away from the fact that they're by far the best-supported club in the NRL.
They come out on top in total fans, number of members and average home attendance, making this a straightforward choice.
With only one win in their first three games this season, the Broncos may need all the support they can get when they take on the reigning premiers at the SCG tonight.
Don't agree with our picks? Have your say below. Read all our match-ups here.