Footy finals: AFL showdown edges NRL by 120k, ratings down on 2016

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 3 October 2017

Seven’s coverage of the AFL grand final was watched by an average of 3.52 million viewers across the country, edging out Nine’s NRL decider, which drew an average audience of 3.4 million viewers.

The AFL decider was the fourth-largest television audience of the year behind Nine’s State of Origin decider (3.65 million), Roger Federer’s epic Australian open victory (3.62 million) and the Blues upset win in State of Origin I (3.53 million).

The lack of Sydney interest combined with the one-sided nature of Richmond’s first flag in 37 years – a 48-point win over the Adelaide Crows – and the Storm’s 34-6 drubbing of the North Queensland Cowboys, kept TV viewers down on last year’s footy finals.

The Western Bulldogs AFL grand final victory over the Swans was watched by an average of 4.09 million viewers and 3.79 million tuned in to watch the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks beat the Melbourne Storm in a nail biter.


AFL rundown

An average metro audience of 2.68 million tuned in to watch the AFL decider. This included a quarter of Melbourne’s (1,277,000) and Adelaide’s (372,000) respective populations. The market that tuned in the least was Sydney, where only 376,000 (around 8%) tuned in to see the Richmond Tigers take on the Adelaide Crows.

The peak metro audience was 3.1 million while Seven’s coverage across AFL grand final day, which kicked off at 10am, reached more than 6 million people.

The presentation ceremony after the game was watched by 3.69 million viewers.

On Saturday, the grand final dominated all key demos and Seven reported a 89.3% share across the metro market.

Last week, Seven West Media chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette told AdNews the AFL regular season and finals have been up on numbers and revenue compared to previous years, while the short ad breaks that follow a goal are ‘the most valuable spot on Australian television’


NRL rundown

The NRL showpiece was watched by an average metro audience of 2.325 million and peaked at 2.59 million. Nationally, the peak audience was 3.87 million viewers.

An average audience of 813,000 tuned into the game in Sydney, 644,000 in Melbourne and 671,000 in Brisbane.

The match had more regional viewers than the AFL (1.28 million vs 840,000), but this is hardly a surprise given the Cowboys are based in Cairns.

Nine says the grand final gave the network a 48.5% share of total people, a 56.2% share of 25-54s and a 63.4% share of 16-39s.

Last week Nine’s sport sales director Sam Brennan told AdNews the NRL season had been a record-breaker in revenue terms

Top 5 TV audiences this year (national, average)

1. State of Origin III - 3.65 million

2. Australian Open men’s final – 3.62 million

3. State of Origin I – 3.53 million

4. AFL grand final – 3.52 million

5. State of Origin II – 3.48 million

6. NRL grand final – 3.4 million

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