Picking an AFL Team to Support

I've been in Melbourne for almost eight years now and it's about time I picked an AFL team to support.

How Do You Pick a Team?

There's lots of advice on the web about how to pick a team: 

There's also this infographic from Reddit (from December 2012) which is both useful and funny:

Plus this thread for the 2014 season:

Brand Associations

All that is good advice but I think there's a quicker and easier way for someone like me to choose a team: using the power of brands and brand association.

So here's what I did:

  • I went to each team's website and looked at the list of their partner brands - both sponsor brands who support the team financially and support brands who provides the team with goods and services
  • For every brand that I liked (i.e. for which I'd be a 'promoter' on the NPS scale) I gave that team a +1 score
  • For every brand that I didn't like (i.e. for which I'd be a 'detractor' on the NPS scale) I gave that team a -1 score
  • I ignored the brands I didn't have strong feelings for or wasn't familiar with (i.e. for which I'd be a 'passive' on the NPS scale)
  • I then added each team's +1s and -1s and gave them an overall score - a 'net positive brand association score' of sorts

This is the result (sorted by highest-to-lowest score, then alphabetically by team name):

So, if I was to choose a team by brand association alone, then the team I'd be supporting is the Sydney Swans, with the Brisbane Lions coming in second. 

(I've kept my scoring here really simple, by the way. Had I wanted to do a more sophisticated analysis I could have first given 'principle', 'major', and 'premier' partner brands higher positive and negative scores and 'associate' and 'support' partners lower positive and negative scores. Of course this would have given undue importance to brands that simply had more marketing money to spend. So next I would have looked at each brand's annual revenue and marketing spend as a proportion of annual revenue and tried to undo some of those effects. And I might have introduced a 'sponsorship proportion' multiplier for each brand. That is, if a club had twenty partners instead of ten, each of those twenty brands would have had half as much proportional weight. There are many more things I could have done but I'm not feeling particularly nerdy this weekend. I'd rather watch TV or browse Reddit.) 

The brand I like the most from that list, by the way, is iiNet, which is a Hawthorn partner. But the brand like the least is Swisse, which is also a Hawthorn partner. So those two pretty much cancelled each other out. Oh well. 

So, there you have it. After living in Melbourne for almost eight years I now tentatively support the Sydney Swans. Go figure. 

Next Steps

Now that I've reached a tentative result, I need to research the Swans and watch some of their games. If I'm going to support them seriously I need to know much more about them. I need to learn about their players, their coaches, their history, and so on. 

A quick skim through their website has been positive: 

  • They're all over social media and even have their own mobile app - though I suppose this is pretty standard for sports teams in this day and age
  • There's nothing untoward about them in the news - at least nothing I could find when I searched for 'Sydney Swans controversy' on Google News
  • They have two clubs for their female supporters - one in Sydney called L@SS and one in Victoria called LOL (both names I like)
  • They have a Black Swans Supporter Group
  • They have a blog series called 'Swan Songs' in which they talk to past great players called 
  • They have player blogs, one of which was actually updated in 2014

I'll now keep an eye on them and report back if all is going well and if I'm going to continue to support this team.

Till then, go swannies!