The game has the highest spectator attendance and television viewership of all sports in Australia.
The annual Grand Final is the highest attended club championship event in the world.
Founded as the Victorian Football League as a breakaway from the previous Victorian Football Association, with its inaugural season commencing in 1897.
Originally comprising only teams based in the Australian state of Victoria, the competition's name was changed to the Australian Football League for the 1990 season, after expanding to other states throughout the 1980s.
The Australian Football League (AFL) is the pre-eminent professional competition in the sport of Australian rules football in Australia and features 18 teams spread over five of Australia's six states.
Through the AFL Commission, the AFL also serves as the sport's governing body, and is responsible for controlling the laws of the game.
The AFL, the sport's only fully professional competition, is the nation's wealthiest sporting body.
Through the AFL Commission, the AFL also serves as the sport's governing body, and is responsible for controlling the laws of the game with the advice of the AFL's Laws of the Game Committee.
Carlton and Essendon have won the most premierships with 16 each.
Essendon won in 1897 and 1924 without playing in a Grand Final.
Meaning that Carlton have won the most Grand Finals of any club.
The League introduced equalisation policies (salary cap and draft) in the late 1980s
Since then every AFL club has made a preliminary final, except for Gold Coast and G.W. Sydney, which joined the league in 2011 and 2010 respectively.
This has had a significant impact on the spread of premierships.
Eleven clubs won premierships in the eighteen seasons between 1990 and 2007, compared with only five clubs in the twenty-three seasons between 1967 and 1989.