THE AFL has released its audited 2014 membership figures, which show the Port Adelaide has experienced the highest membership growth of any of the League's 18 clubs this year.

It is a testament to the tremendous support of the club’s record-breaking member base for its support throughout the season, which has seen Port Adelaide smash several attendance records at its new home at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval.

2014 marked the first time since 1976 that Port Adelaide had played its home games at the venue.

The club broke the all-time record attendance for an AFL game in South Australia, including finals, against Hawthorn in Round 10.

It also eclipsed its own all-time home season attendance figure in Round 20 against the Sydney Swans.

Chief executive officer Keith Thomas thanked the club’s members and supporters for their fantastic support of the club at both AFL and SANFL level throughout the season so far.

“We have the loudest and most passionate supporters in the nation and the incredible growth of our membership tally this year is a testament to their love for their football club,” Mr Thomas said.

“We know how much our people love our fantastic home at the Adelaide Oval – a place where we’d won 20 South Australian League premierships before returning there this year – and to have such emphatic support at the 10 home games we’ve had in 2014 shows it.

“On behalf of our chairman David Koch, our senior coach Ken Hinkley and our club captain Travis Boak, I want to thank each and every one of our members and game day supporters for helping to make our game day this year the best yet.

“To our members who live nearby in South Australia, across the country or around the world, your club appreciates and is humbled by the passion and dedication you have shown it this year, and we can’t wait to improve again in 2015.”

As of 22 August, the club’s total membership figure stands at 55,709, the official audited figure released by the AFL today brings that figure down to 48,968.

The variance between the club’s total membership number and the AFL reportable number for 2014 is primarily due to a change in the way the AFL elects to treat Adelaide Oval Football Members (formerly SANFL Premier category members).

Since Port Adelaide entered the national competition in 1997, the AFL had counted all SANFL Premier members – who had access to all 22 home-and-away games at AAMI Stadium – towards the audited membership figures of both Port Adelaide and the Adelaide Crows.

One of the key criteria for ‘membership’ in the AFL’s audit is that revenue is received by a club (a minimum of $50 per member). However, with changes to the stadium revenue model at the Adelaide Oval in 2014, the AFL has instead split the Adelaide Oval 22-game membership figure between the two clubs on a 35/65 basis against Port Adelaide, despite stadium members having access to all 22 minor round games at the Oval.

This change in auditing system resulted in an allocation of 2,928 Adelaide Oval members to Port Adelaide and 5,278 to the Crows.

The 35/65 distribution split was based on SANFL ‘club of support’ research which had the split at 30/70.

Had the audit process remained the same as previous seasons, the like-for-like comparison number would have been 54,255 – equating to a year-on-year growth figure of 14,417 member or a 36% increase.

Port Adelaide’s record final attendance for the 2014 home-and-away season will be posted after tonight’s game against Carlton at the Adelaide Oval.

Key points regarding the club’s 2014 membership figure

- A like-for-like comparison using the same auditing process used between 1997 and 2013 would have produced an AFL reportable figure of 54,255 and a reduction of just 1453 membership products through the audit.

- Under a new reportable system used by the League (which splits Adelaide Oval Football members on a 35/65 basis between Port Adelaide and the Crows based on 2013 SANFL ‘club of support’ research), the club’s official AFL reportable figure is 48,968.

- Port Adelaide had the highest year-on-year membership growth of any of the AFL’s 18 clubs.
   ?? Officially, that growth figure is a 22.92% increase.
     ? Using the 1997-2013 system, the growth figure would be a 36% increase.

- Port Adelaide’s members and supporters set a new AFL game attendance record in South Australia (including minor round games and finals) of 52,233 against Hawthorn in Round 10.

- The club’s new record home game attendance at the Adelaide Oval for 2014 currently stands at 435,501 with one game remaining against Carlton on Friday 22 August.