An independent study has found AFL Goldfields contributed more than $50m to the region’s economy this year.
Business consultancy firm Street Ryan, which undertook an economic contribution assessment, highlighted a rapid growth of the game for males and females across all age groups in the region since 2012 as a key factor in lifting the financial impact to an estimated $51.637m.
Street Ryan reports that financial figures show an increase of almost $17m since a 2012 assessment of $34.682m This represents growth of 8.29 per cent per annum.
AFL Goldfields regional general manager Rod Ward said with the existing growth in participation, the economic benefit would continue to be an “enormous advantage” to the community.
"AFL Goldfields is one of the fastest growing regions for Australian football participation in Victoria and we have seven of the fastest growing populated regions across our 14 municipal councils.
"The increase of male and female participation in the youth age group is important and we will hopefully see these players move into senior level and maintain the long-term stability and sustainability of all senior clubs,” he said.
The study found one in three males, and one in five people (21.67 percent) aged five to 39 play football in the region.
As per 2016 figures, 49 per cent of males aged five to 12 play football - an increase of 19 percent since 2012.
The biggest jump is in the 13-18 age bracket of males and females, where it was noted that 79 per cent of males and 28 per cent of females play football.
This is an increase from 41 and 23 per cent on 2012.