On the field the Brisbane AFL Lions roar - but purr over their fans to win a Lion's share of the market!

Bennett, Rebekah, Hodkinson, Chris, & Ng, Sandy (2004) On the field the Brisbane AFL Lions roar - but purr over their fans to win a Lion's share of the market! In Kotler, Philip, Brown, Linden, Stewart, Adam, & Armstrong, Gary (Eds.) Marketing. Prentice-Hall, Frences Forest, NSW, pp. 70-73.

View at publisher


In just six short years in Brisbane the Lions have pioneered Australian Rules Football in Queensland and won two national premierships. To do so they had to perform both on and off the field: on the field, in terms of players and game skills, and off the field, in their marketing, relationship management and marketing development. The purpose of this case study is to demonstrate that relationship management is a key strategy for experimental products such as sport. In particular it outlines the marketing strategies of the AFL's reigning premiers to achieve increased revenues and establish a loyal fan base. Australian Rules Football, which was established in Victoria in 1866, is a uniquely Australian game which owes much to Irish/Gaelic and other football codes. Although traditionally a Victorian sport, a national professional league called the Australian Football League (AFL) was established in 1990 with teams based outside Victoria (AFL 2003). Today the AFL is Australia’s most popular football code and the third most popular sport overall, with 54% of public expressing an interest (Sweeney 2003). The Brisbane Lions team was born in 1992 from an amalgamation of the Fitzroy Lions (a Melbourne team) and the Brisbane Bears. The Brisbane Bears (est. 1987) were based at Carrara on the Gold Coast. In 1992 they were at the bottom of the AFL table, and with a membership of only 800 and typical match attendances of 6500 they were struggling. They moved to Brisbane in 1992 at a time when rugby league and rugby union had the Queensland market virtually to themselves. Within four years their membership had climbed to 10 500 with match attendances of 18 700. Since the merger with Fitzroy the Brisbane Lions have taken their typical Brisbane match attendance to around 28 000 and increased their club membership in Brisbane and Melbourne to nearly 23 000 and 4000 In Victoria (Herde 2002). They also have the country’s highest member retention rate at 85%. How have they created such a following for their brand of football? Through dedication and hard work certainly, but more importantly by creating brand awareness, relationships with their publics and deliberately moving consumers through the adoption and sales processes with the aim of eventually turning first-time AFL spectators into loyal club members, supporters and followers.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 13259
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information about this book please refer to the publisher's website (see link) or contact the author.
Keywords: Rebekah Russell-Bennett
ISBN: 1741031591
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > MARKETING (150500) > Marketing not elsewhere classified (150599)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Prentice-Hall (Pearson Education Australia)
Deposited On: 08 Apr 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2011 05:36

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page