Networks dual it out for grand final weekend win

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 2 October 2018

In Australia's biggest sporting and advertising weekend of the year, it was Network Seven that came out on top in the battle for grand final supremacy.

Seven's broadcast of the AFL grand final on Saturday, which saw the West Coast Eagles defeat Melbourne's Collingwood Magpies in a nail-biting 79-74 point victory, took home the ratings win on Saturday with 3.378 million national viewers tuning in.

The game delivered a metro and regional peak audience of 4.297 million in-home viewers, which also included an additional 11,000 viewers tuning in across connected TVs for the first time.

Across Grand Final day, Seven’s coverage reached almost seven million viewers and over five million in metro areas.

In Melbourne, an average audience of 1.247 million in-home viewers tuned in to watch Collingwood's heart-breaking defeat, with the Melbourne audience peaking at 1.454 million.

In Perth, the average audience was 471,000 in-home viewers with the audience peaking at 568,000 as the Eagles took their fourth premiership back across the Nullarbor to WA.

Further streaming statistics revealed a total of 1.77m minutes of catch-up viewing was done via streaming.

Despite the close nature of Saturday's grand final, Seven was unable to capture the same audience as last year's 48 point victory by the Richmond Tigers, which drew and national average audience on 3.52m.

Nine's NRL coverage

On Sunday over on channel Nine, the NRL grand final drew a national average audience of 3.03m viewers, made up of 2.12m in the five city metro areas and 911,000 regional viewers.

The 21-6 victory by the Sydney Roosters over the Melbourne Storm had a national peak audience of 3.44m but was ultimately unable to match the viewership of Seven's AFL grand final coverage.

The clash between the Sydney and Melbourne powerhouses also fell roughly 400,000 viewers short of the 2017 grand final, which saw Melbourne defeat the North Queensland Cowboys, despite this year's event featuring a Sydney-based side.

The presentation post-game coverage generated a national peak audience of 3.101 million and a national average audience of 1.616 million.

NRL grand final day entertainment, which featured Australian rock group Gang of Youths, achieved a national peak audience of 2.311 million and a national average audience of 1.714 million.

Despite both the AFL and NRL being considered two of the best television advertising events of the year, industry leaders took to LinkedIn to express their disappointment for the lack of creativity.

However, some advertisers, including South Australia tourism, which aired a spot for its five day 'live ad' adventure campaign, were praised for creating engaging and exciting integrated content.

NRL Grand Final

The Sydney Roosters celebrate.

Seven's new sporting endeavour

While the majority of Australia's sports fans were transfixed on the AFL and NRL grand finals, Seven also kicked off its cricket coverage, televising the international T20 match between Australia and New Zealand.

The game marked the start of Seven's coverage of the 'summer of cricket' and was the first game to air since the network, alongside Foxtel, won the rights to the game from Nine in April.

Australia's victory over New Zealand was the highest audience ever for women’s cricket with a peak metro and regional audience of 1.298 million viewers, averaging 888,000.

Across the match, Seven’s coverage reached 2.905 million viewers nationally, and over 2.074 million in metro areas.

The strategy by Seven to air the game following the AFL grand final appears to have paid off, setting a high benchmark for upcoming the upcoming men's test series between Australia and India.

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