SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 26: Lance Franklin watches a Sydney Swans AFL training session at Bat & Ball Oval on November 26, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Former Sydney Swans CEO Andrew Ireland has said that the Swans have become the most popular club in Australia.

Ireland believes that the launch of the Swans Academy is a key reason behind the club popularity.

“The club is now the most popular club in Australia, it sort of snuck up on us a bit but all the polling from Morgan, Nielsen and the like, we have close to 1.3 million supporters,” Ireland told SEN SA Breakfast.

“One of the things people don’t appreciate in the stronger footy states is the establishment of the Swans Academy has made an incredible difference to footy in Sydney.”

According to the studies referenced by Ireland, Collingwood has 800,050 fans compared with the Swans at around 1.3 million.

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