A NEW study has found that for every dollar spent on a community Aussie rules club, the community gets $4.40 in social "returns".
The La Trobe University study was led by Professor Russell Hoye at the university's Centre for Sport and Social Impact.
Funded by the AFL, the study looked at Aussie rules clubs in Victoria, finding positive impacts for community health, society and the local economy.
While Prof Hoye said the value of community AFL clubs could not directly translate into other codes like NRL, he said there were general community benefits.
He said in general local sporting clubs offered a "positive space" for people to connect to each other, with positive impacts on mental and physical health.
"But you've really got to look at the different structures around those sports - so baseball would be different to netball for instance," he said.
"Sports with more structured programs probably have a better impact, but I wouldn't want to subscribe the same benefits from all sports."