Exploring potential reasons Richmond has surpassed all AFL clubs in popularity.

TheUndertaker

The Phenom from Death Valley
Oct 2, 2008
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This is a difficult thread to start, but i think important to discuss with fellow richmond supporters who have seen the evolution of our club from the sleeping giant, to the giant slayers and Tiger Overlords of this competition.

In 2009 we just sacked our what, 13th coach since our last premiership? Our membership remained at a steady 35,000 ish, give or take and no one could do mismanagement and debt as well as us. Six million down in the coffers, arguably the worst facilities in the competition and the complete inability to gather any on field success.

By 2019 we have the most members, biggest attendances, largest revenue when you exclude gaming money, highest net profits, most Instagram followers, most website traffic, most success!!! The sleeping giant woke.

What i think startled the AFL world were our membership numbers, Carlton poached our membership genius Cain Liddle, who sacked SOS which i find funny.

But is it as simple as our success has led to a bandwagon? See i dont think thats correct. Whilst i wont deny there is a bandwagon that will drop off, i have thought of a variety of reasons Richmond has exploded. Please tell me your thoughts

1. Richmond in 1973 became the first sporting club in Australian sport to draw 1 million fans to events in a single year. This shows a core fanbase that would have generationally passed the yellow and black to their children and so on. We could argue without 35 years of instability, poor management and mediocrity, maybe our numbers would have ballooned more throughout that period. Did we lose fans? Most certainly. But history is a great indicator, and history shows richmond at one point, was indeed the club with the most support.

2. Underdog narrative. The Tigers headed into the 2017 finals as perennial underachievers. Going right through to grand final winners so suddenly and unexpectedly created sheer shock and a wave of momentum that would be highly impressionable to all Australians. Indeed, our premiership wasnt a story of success, it was a cinderella story, that of Rocky Balboa, a story that people can get behind and talk about.

3. The colours, mascot are very appealing to new migrants. Indians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Sudanese all herald the Tiger as a cutural symbol of their heritage. Infact, the tiger is completely detached from Australian history as a symbol, so could the familiarity draw support from migrants? I would say most definitely.

4. Dustin Martin. The most marketable player in the game, sponsored by Bonds, Puma, and undeniably one of the reasons the tigers are featured heavily in every newspaper, he is relatable to todays youth and transcends footy. Dusty is cool and relatable and everyone who is youthful absolutely loves him, the fact he represents us makes us look good to a new generation.

5. Passion. No doubt in my mind, whether 2009 or 2019, no one is as passionate as richmond supporters.

Thoughts ???
 

Muddiemoose

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Aug 24, 2017
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Richmond were extremely dominant in the 70’s and was an extremely popular side now a lot of people like myself who were born in the 80’s and 90’s who are children of those older supporters never really saw any success and copped a lot of shit growing up going for Richmond so we never really wanted to become members and even to the point where they actively stopped following footy because it wasn’t fun to be a Richmond kid during that time

now that the club has generated a winning culture and a club we can be proud of we want to show that we are Richmond and proud of it

we weee always a sleeping giant and as much as I hate to admit it IF/WHEN carlton turn things around they will rival us for members and off field support for the same reasons
 

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Dr Tigris

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Aug 19, 2009
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In some ways I reckon the 35 years of crap are really important. Our fans stayed on and the depth of passion grew if anything. That translated to an explosion of support when we became successful. One key thing is, IMHO, we never had a sugar daddy. tigers fans had ot do ti themselves. So we got closer to the club, and felt more a part of it. Carlton and Melbourne had rich dudes to rely on, so the supporters lack that same intensity
 

Soberian Tiger

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Jul 25, 2018
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Just followed a link to the Blues' board regarding Liddle. Couldn't wait to return to the Richmond one. It felt like some alternative reality with only one or two posts demonstrating any hint of humour when the chips are down.

Richmond has been rubbish too. It's how one handles it that matters.
 

rmcq

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Sep 6, 2017
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Also:
- A strong brand focussed on inclusion (LGBTIQ, multicultural, families) with players actively encouraging multicultural participation.
- A focus on women, when Gale and Peggy came to power, women only made up 30% of membership, one of the lowest in the AFL. Increasing that to 40% will have added 10,000 members.
- An enjoyable brand of football to watch. So many teams play slow, boring, predictable football. Richmond play the most exciting football in the competition.

I was speaking to a Mum a few years ago, one son followed Carlton, one followed Richmone. When their membership packs came, the Carlton kid got a cap and membership card. The Tiger kid got all sorts of kids stuff.

5 years ago Richmond were working very hard to be member-inclusive. It’s made a big difference now with the boost of success.
 

CASEYS9420

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Jan 18, 2016
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A lot of it has to do with being one of the big 4 clubs in Melbourne. Its just a different energy when clubs with huge supporter bases like Richmond, Collingwood, Essendon or Carlton have success, because everything else surrounding it then comes into play, Premiership success, Grand Final moments, a rich history and culture, past club champions being remembered, crowd sizes at games fill stadiums. Theres a mystique much like the Yankees in baseball or Man U/Liverpool in soccer that follows successful clubs.
 

DeLaCon

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Nov 15, 2019
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Richmond has always been a huge club irrespective of our poor performance for 37 years. Even from the inception in 1885 Richmond had lots of support. Premierships in 1920 and later on in that period with the likes of Thorp and Bolger etc kept support high. Great legends like dyer emerged. Then in the 1950s greek and other migrants came and thousands moved in Richmond giving Richmond new supporters whose kids follow the Tigers today. We moved to the MCG and became a powerhouse premiership winning team under Hafey. More support followed. In 1980 we got a million people through the gates. Passion loyalty and commitment saw those supporters hang on during the next 37 years. Brendon Gale came on board and his administration ramped up investment across the board. Part of that was conducting a demographic study which showed that new generations of our supporters were moving east and south east to places like beaconsfield etc. That region is growing at a rate of knots. Our club focused on that region and our membership sky rocketed. Then in 2017 we won the flag and followed up in 2019. Support is growing. Richmond is not only the biggest club in Australia but also one of biggest in the World. Ask yourselves how many clubs around the world gave 100,000 paying members? Maybe some EPL clubs and Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain.
 

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Bojangles17

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In some ways I reckon the 35 years of crap are really important. Our fans stayed on and the depth of passion grew if anything. That translated to an explosion of support when we became successful. One key thing is, IMHO, we never had a sugar daddy. tigers fans had ot do ti themselves. So we got closer to the club, and felt more a part of it. Carlton and Melbourne had rich dudes to rely on, so the supporters lack that same intensity
35y is a little mischievous, from 2013 we started winning 15+ games a year , save β€˜16 , the giant was stirred and now the fans are revelling in another golden era . There are 15 clubs out there that would give their first born to W 15 games a year , that was the start,,,,and don’t ever forget it
 

tigerdan

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Mar 18, 2003
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Demographics is a fickle yet predictable beast.

The question should be why are Hawthorn not the most supposted club in the land, and the answer comes down to having shit and piss as their colours.

I can remember the bummers flag of 1993 and how all the brees and briannahs wanted to support Essendon because of James Hird. And that bred an obnoxious cohort of fu** wits by the time 2000 came around. I know so many families that had kids buck the trend and give up on the family team to support Essendon during that era.

We are now reaping our own bumper crop of demographics. This will set us up for decades unless we fu** it up with a doping scandal. Equally Carlton are eating a shit sandwich on the other end of the demographic spectrum. They still have a core of supporters but fu** all kids want to support Carlton because they are shite and kids don't want to support a club that loses all the time.

Recent immigrants don't want to support a shit team either.

We need to focus on the huge economic windfall to set up investments and structures to keep us at the top when the draft inevitably fu**s us up the arse. I would hope the club works very hard to avoid the hubris of the legends stand at Carlton, or Essendon moving to Tullamarine.
 

Tenacious T

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Jun 6, 2018
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Facilities.
During the Wallace era, the Admin/Footy department had to deal with possum shit falling through the ceiling and players doing rehab in 3rd world surroundings.
Wallace himself said he had to paint his office to make the room more appealing.
Substandard workplace equals substandard players.
 

Tygrys

Team Captain
Mar 26, 2009
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3. The colours, mascot are very appealing to new migrants. Indians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Sudanese all herald the Tiger as a cutural symbol of their heritage. Infact, the tiger is completely detached from Australian history as a symbol, so could the familiarity draw support from migrants? I would say most definitely.
I think some people really underrate this as a reason for the size of the supporter base. Certainly it has cultural significance for people of non-European background, but it's also really significant for caucasian Australian's. Simply put we have is at very worst the equal best club colours in the AFL (Essendon's black and red would be our only rival). Also Richmond has arguably the best nickname/mascot in the AFL in the Tiger and the only one along with Collingwood where the club colours actually correspond with the animal/object that the club is associated with. This translates brilliantly into clothing, into toys, into merchandise in a way it does for almost no other club.

I speak from experience my parents coming from Europe and having no affinity with Australian football. What did it for me when I was extremely young was the 'Tiger'. It was the most colourful, ferocious and attractive animal and I chose it on that basis. It's an amazing advantage in recruiting kids from one generation to the next, of all backgrounds who have no family associations with other clubs. And also give some credit to the club song as well, it also sells the club in a way that no other club song does.
 

tora tora tora

Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 3, 2008
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35y is a little mischievous, from 2013 we started winning 15+ games a year , save β€˜16 , the giant was stirred and now the fans are revelling in another golden era . There are 15 clubs out there that would give their first born to W 15 games a year , that was the start,,,,and don’t ever forget it
15 win seasons would be spoilt by Finals losses. 9th team Carlton beating us, Port killing us and North continuing their run of domination over us. 35 years to be competitive in my book. But the fear of returning to those Dark days should be great motivator.
 

Bojangles17

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15 win seasons would be spoilt by Finals losses. 9th team Carlton beating us, Port killing us and North continuing their run of domination over us. 35 years to be competitive in my book. But the fear of returning to those Dark days should be great motivator.
I said it was The start , no one gets parachuted to premiership mountain , those 3 finals campaigns were only the beginning ,
 

tora tora tora

Norm Smith Medallist
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I said it was The start , no one gets parachuted to premiership mountain , those 3 finals campaigns were only the beginning ,
Three campaigns and then 2016. Was a blessing for me. Zero expectations from then on. I thought 2017 could have gone either way. But GREAT recruiting on and off the field. And a gditched a game plan where we always started fast, lead early and get run over.
 
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Dr Tigris

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Aug 19, 2009
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35y is a little mischievous, from 2013 we started winning 15+ games a year , save β€˜16 , the giant was stirred and now the fans are revelling in another golden era . There are 15 clubs out there that would give their first born to W 15 games a year , that was the start,,,,and don’t ever forget it
Yes sir!!

However we did transfer from "Premiershipmond" to 'make finals and then lose straight away - even tot eh team that came ninth'.

But that barren period of horror was, I reckon, important in creating a different culture amongst tiger heads.
 

Bojangles17

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Yes sir!!

However we did transfer from "Premiershipmond" to 'make finals and then lose straight away - even tot eh team that came ninth'.

But that barren period of horror was, I reckon, important in creating a different culture amongst tiger heads.
The finals campaigns albeit unsuccessful ones were a step up from a barren period that we failed to qualify year in year out for 11 straight ,,,,they were the making of us
 

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