The Legacy of Pat McAfee’s AFL Career in America


Until a few years ago, Australian football was a sport that didn’t really have much of a place in the attention of international sports fans, yet it is becoming increasingly popular in Australia and Oceania. Despite this, the sport is increasingly being heard about in Australia and Oceania, but why the sudden change, at least in America? Pat McAfee may have the answer.  

McAfee and Australian football 

Since 2020, Australian football has become increasingly popular, reaching more people around the globe than ever before. As a result, it is nowadays easy to find the sport on online betting websites such as Unibet, where you can bet on the AFL and other major Australian football competitions, some of which are fully live, and with betting schemes as wide-ranging as handicap betting, and even on combined betting. This increase in betting services can only mean one thing: The focus on Australian football. 

However, before this year, Australian football was not very popular. There were many detractors, as it was considered a chaotic sport where the rules were difficult to understand. The sport even spent many years trying to gain access to countries such as Wales and Ireland, where a link with Gaelic football was attempted, but to no avail. 

Pat McAfee arrived to change that. In March 2020 he stumbled upon a match between North Melbourne and GWS almost by accident. Since the former NFL player is now a sports analyst, he didn’t hesitate to post his impressions on his social network on Twitter. After that, it didn’t take long for this discipline, which for him was “The most insane sport on earth”, to gain a privileged place on his social networks, and of course among the 2.3 million followers of his account. 

AFL in the public eye 

Perhaps the greatest legacy Pat McAfee has left for Australian football in America is to have introduced it to a market where there was little knowledge or interest in it. During 2019, the AFL final had an audience of 2.9 million. However, two years later, the final of the only professional league in existence was watched by 4.11 million people, almost double that.  

Since then, Pet McAfee himself has pointed out that Australian football is perhaps the sport he was meant to play throughout his career, all in a sport where interdisciplinary training is required, and where the dynamics of the game involve plays that can become very aggressive. Since then, it is easy to find videos on McAfee’s YouTube channel where he references the professional league, and even showcases his impressions of the ball used in Australian football, which, according to the analyst, has an extraordinary fluidity. 

It seems clear that Pet McAfee’s admiration for Australian football has brought the sport into the public eye. One need only recall how the sport was widely covered by the networks when rumors spread that the analyst had signed a contract to play in the professional league. So while the sport may have very little representation outside of Australia and Oceania, it seems that Australian football is here to stay in America, all thanks to McAfee.  

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