BBL TV ratings hit A-League for six

By James MacSmith, James MacSmith is a Roar Guru

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    David Gallop’s “unstoppable” A-League appears under siege with the Big Bash League threatening to become a summer juggernaut if the first free-to-air TV ratings of the Twenty20 tournament are anything to go by.

    Football Federation Australia boss Gallop last week pre-empted the start of the BBL season with a series of remarks casting doubt over whether sports fans would embrace the short-form tournament while claiming his own competition was “unstoppable in Australian sport”.

    But coming from a former first-grade fast bowler, those comments are beginning to look like pure spin.

    Cricket Australia executives are delighted with the response from fans to the third season of the BBL as it appeared on free-to-air TV on the Ten Network for the first time.

    Each prime-time match on Friday, Saturday and Sunday earned more than one million viewers across Australia in regional and metropolitan areas.

    On Friday night, the only time the A-League and the BBL went head-to-head on free-to-air TV, the round ball code was well and truly hit for six.

    The BBL’s Melbourne derby between the Stars and the Renegades was watched by around 804,000 people in the five capital cities.

    By contrast, the A-League clash between Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets was viewed by only around 74,000 on SBS2 according to the official OzTam ratings system; less than a tenth of the viewership of the BBL.

    The BBL competition enjoyed only minimal lead-in coverage due to the Ashes battle and CA hopes the ratings will only get better.

    “We’re extremely pleased with the results from the opening weekend,” the BBL boss Mike McKenna said in a statement.

    “To break through the million-viewer barrier on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night with our first foray into prime time free-to-air TV is a terrific result.

    “We still have a long way to go but the first four matches have set a strong platform for the rest of the season.”

    However Gallop can claim bragging rights in the battle for crowds in the southern capital.

    The A-League Melbourne derby between the Heart and the Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday attracted a crowd of 26,491 while the Stars versus Renegades match at the MCG had a crowd of 25,266.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (59)

    • Roar Guru

      December 24th 2013 @ 9:13am
      TomC said | December 24th 2013 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      BBL doing a good job of cashing in on the Ashes bandwagon.

      • December 24th 2013 @ 10:53am
        Jorji Costava - The Guru's Guru said | December 24th 2013 @ 10:53am | ! Report

        Cricket has always been the summer game in Australia since Captain Cook landed here. That will only change if there is an ice age.

        Soccer is a great game, but it is very much a certain demographic that are into it. If you were to put Sheffield Shield cricket on commercial tv it would outrate the A-League by a good stretch too.

        The only thing I wish for is the BBL goes back to the tried and trusted state sides. Melbourne and Sydney would be better off with just one team each. It spreads the talent too thin. A lot of club players are getting a game that should not be.

        • December 24th 2013 @ 1:14pm
          Lazza said | December 24th 2013 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

          The biggest demographic for Soccer is the under 39 category. Those who have grown up in a Globalised world with Internet, Pay TV and realise there is a big, wide world of sports out there that doesn’t include any AFL, NRL and not much Cricket.

          NBC in America just paid 250m for the EPL rights and Fox Sports a staggering $1 Billion for the World Cup. The sport seems to be taking off in the States now and European Football teams play to sell out stadiums every Summer. It may take another generation or so but Soccer will eventually take it’s rightful place here. I can’t see the next generation being happy to remain a sporting backwater.

          • December 24th 2013 @ 1:32pm
            Matt F said | December 24th 2013 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

            $250m over three years is chump change in the US market. The NFL’s current deal is valued at over $3b a year

            • December 24th 2013 @ 1:42pm
              Lazza said | December 24th 2013 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

              I think that’s a nice start for the EPL in the US. It’s a hell of a lot more than the NFL makes for it’s overseas TV rights.

              The EPL is the world’s most popular sports league and every time the TV rights come up it grows bigger and bigger. The NFL is pretty much confined to it’s own market like our leagues. The AFL give their rights away for free because no one is willing to pay any money or them. Even our little HAL manages to make some dosh from it’s overseas TV rights.

              • December 24th 2013 @ 2:01pm
                Matt F said | December 24th 2013 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

                Of course it is, but you’re going on about football taking over other sports and using the USA as an example. I’m simply pointing out that the gap is still absolutely massive in the US

          • Roar Guru

            December 24th 2013 @ 2:34pm
            peeeko said | December 24th 2013 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

            local and regional sports continue to thrive around the world, not everyone is a backwater because we dont follow the worlds biggest game

            • December 24th 2013 @ 2:41pm
              Titus said | December 24th 2013 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

              Football thrives here as well peeeko, the a-league still has a ways to go to reach the popularity of the euro leagues though, The MLS faces similar obstacles.

              David Gallop would be best advised to keep his trap shut until the salary cap is somewhat larger than it is.

              • Roar Guru

                December 24th 2013 @ 2:44pm
                peeeko said | December 24th 2013 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

                yes it does, i just get sick of hearing that because we appreciate other sports as well as football we are a backwater and inevitably that football will takeover

              • December 24th 2013 @ 2:50pm
                Matt F said | December 24th 2013 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

                Yes, apparently the idea that somebody can like other sports, perhaps even more than one sport, is unheard of among some people. The ‘backwater’ lines are just pathetic and say alot about the people making them

              • December 24th 2013 @ 2:51pm
                Titus said | December 24th 2013 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

                Tit for tat from both sides.

              • December 24th 2013 @ 3:09pm
                millane said | December 24th 2013 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

                i resent the insular line as well – i have interests outside of sport that expose me to all corners of the world (music politics and architecture especially)…. but because i follow afl im written off and derided by soccer fans as insular, provincial (in an unflattering sense) and backward…

                time for all fans to sit back and reflect on their own petty and at times pathetic insecurities (especially those who think they’re “well ‘ard ultras”)…. its sport for gawds sake…. enjoy it

              • December 24th 2013 @ 3:19pm
                Matt F said | December 24th 2013 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

                Absolutely. All sports have their code warriors and they’re all equally annoying’

              • December 24th 2013 @ 3:40pm
                Lazza said | December 24th 2013 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

                Well I think it says more about sports fans here. As soon as someone says Soccer is on the rise then the assumption is that it’s going to take over other sports? When did I say that?

                People here don’t follow more than 1 or 2 sports. Look at the TV ratings, it’s either AFL or NRL not both.

                Like it or not, Soccer is the world’s biggest sport and we should be part of it. We’re not America, if we just play domestic or Commonwealth sports then no one is ever going to know anything about us.

              • December 24th 2013 @ 4:25pm
                Matt F said | December 24th 2013 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

                There’s nothing wrong with saying that football is on the rise. It clearly is growing and that’s a great thing.

                You didn’t say that ‘soccer was on the rise.’ You said that “It may take another generation or so but Soccer will eventually take it’s rightful place here. I can’t see the next generation being happy to remain a sporting backwater.” The inference is pretty clear.

                Do you only follow football because other countries play it? If so then I suggest that you’re following the sport for the wrong reasons. I enjoy football because I find it enjoyable to watch and play, which is the same reason that I enjoy, Aussie Rules, Rugby League, Cricket and others. The sports international coverage, or lack of, has little to nothing to do with it.

                Plenty of people follow more than one sport. Some people only follow one or two. Each to their own

          • December 24th 2013 @ 10:05pm
            Jorji Costava said | December 24th 2013 @ 10:05pm | ! Report

            The “demographic” you speak of is southern European descendants. Not everyone has that kind of ancestry.

          • December 25th 2013 @ 8:55am
            Brendon the 1st said | December 25th 2013 @ 8:55am | ! Report

            Rightful place? And that’s the problem isn’t it, soccer thinking its better than any other sport, typical attitude.

            Cricket will always be the summer king in Australia, and a I for one am glad of it.

        • December 24th 2013 @ 2:35pm
          Titus said | December 24th 2013 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

          The Ryobi cup was on GEM and generally rated lower than the a-league.

          • Columnist

            December 24th 2013 @ 4:32pm
            Brett McKay said | December 24th 2013 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

            Averaged 105K per game across the tournament on GEM, Titus, and 222K for the Final. How does that compare to the A-league? (Genuine question – I’ve no idea of A-L numbers)

            • December 24th 2013 @ 4:42pm
              Matt F said | December 24th 2013 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

              Hard to compare as the Ryobi Cup was mainly on during the day instead of during prime time but also most A-League games aren’t on FTA . There’s no real “apples v apples” comparison.

              The overall Ryobi Cup average would be below the Friday night SBS/Fox ratings for the A-League, though the gap would fluctuate week to week and I don’t have each weeks data to make the average

              • December 25th 2013 @ 4:16pm
                Ash said | December 25th 2013 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

                & not to forget that the Ryobi cup average is for an 8 hour duration during working hours compared to 2 hours for A-league in prime time

            • December 24th 2013 @ 4:59pm
              Titus said | December 24th 2013 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

              HAL was averaging about 120 000, with another 80 000 watching the same game on Fox.

              In all seriousness, I can’t pick up SBS and I live within view of the Gore Hill transmission towers and the place where I previously lived got very poor reception indeed, in fact you need a special aerial to receive UHF, so that in itself is a factor, then you could also factor in things such as the fact that SBS is a low rating station that is thought to be underrepresented by Austam. I also don’t know how the ratings work when it is on both SBSHD and SBS2.

              At the end of the day, the BBL ratings are very good but the a-league has a very solid support of avid fans as can be seen in its attendances.

              • December 24th 2013 @ 10:33pm
                Simoc said | December 24th 2013 @ 10:33pm | ! Report

                Yes I have lived in a few backwaters where SBS was the best transmission available and I guess that’s a factor in A League getting their meager numbers. If they showed EPL instead at least we could watch some quality instead of the third grade play on display.

      • December 24th 2013 @ 12:08pm
        Jack Russell said | December 24th 2013 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

        Not really, it’s cashed in the last 2 years as well without the backing of Ashes hype. Cricket is just our most popular summer sport by a mile, and has been for a long long time. You’d have to be a fool or David Gallop to think that’s going to change anytime soon.

        • December 24th 2013 @ 7:56pm
          Jorji Costava said | December 24th 2013 @ 7:56pm | ! Report

          Gallop has to talk up A-League. It is his job to pander to the fanatics like the ayatollah does over in Iran.

      • December 24th 2013 @ 9:39pm
        IndianCricketFan said | December 24th 2013 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

        i hope this turns around the state of cricket in Australia and it regains its unofficial post as the National Sport of Australia….btw fun fact for you Aussies bloke- Cricket is not the national sport of India!! That title goes to Hockey.

    • December 24th 2013 @ 9:17am
      Kevin said | December 24th 2013 @ 9:17am | ! Report

      Near 1 million viewers a game is outrageous , goes to show not all things should be hidden away on pay tv.. Their exposure to the masses is worth untold $ ‘s in itself

      • Columnist

        December 24th 2013 @ 9:30am
        Brett McKay said | December 24th 2013 @ 9:30am | ! Report

        1.19M Fri night, 1.11M Sat night, 1.12M on Sun night, the BBL is quoting OzTam on its own site. Average numbers, obviously, but massive nonetheless…

        But, that said, is something really being hidden away on payTV if no FTA networks made a bid for it to start with?

        • December 24th 2013 @ 10:58am
          Jorji Costava - The Guru's Guru said | December 24th 2013 @ 10:58am | ! Report

          Very clever what Ten are doing as there is nothing else on tv at this time of the year. You could watch a cooking show or you could watch the cricket.

          Maybe if Nigella was 20 years younger and in her lingerie doing the cooking I would bother. At the end of the day you can only eat a certain amount of food before you are full but you can never score enough runs or get enough wickets.

          • December 24th 2013 @ 9:23pm
            IndianCricketFan said | December 24th 2013 @ 9:23pm | ! Report

            hahaha great point Jorji!!

          • December 24th 2013 @ 11:24pm
            Atko said | December 24th 2013 @ 11:24pm | ! Report

            Hmmm, Nigella doesn’t have to be a day younger and I’d watch her in her lingerie. There, I’ve said it.

    • December 24th 2013 @ 9:47am
      JamesP said | December 24th 2013 @ 9:47am | ! Report

      I think Gallop was getting way ahead of him self – and his comments would have filled many in the soccer community (including contributors here on The Roar) with plenty of misguided optimism. They should consider themselves lucky that the next 2 Ashes test matches are dead rubbers. Of course there is also tennis to come in January as well which will consume most Melbournians for the next few weeks.

      • December 24th 2013 @ 11:27pm
        Atko said | December 24th 2013 @ 11:27pm | ! Report

        Ah, they all say this. I remember John O’Neill predicting League’s days were numbered and the Rugby World Cup would consume it (this was around the time of the 2003 World Cup). Yeah, look how that turned out.

    • December 24th 2013 @ 9:48am
      crashy said | December 24th 2013 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      A recent Phoenix game rated 26k. Gallop needs to stop talking such garbage with that type of rating figure.

      • December 24th 2013 @ 11:04am
        Jorji Costava - The Guru's Guru said | December 24th 2013 @ 11:04am | ! Report

        Soccer has been the “sleeping giant” of Australian sport since the time it was first played here in the 1870s. Have heard that old line since I can remember. Problem is for it, our own football code were invented first with more on field action.

        • December 24th 2013 @ 4:17pm
          Lazza said | December 24th 2013 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

          The FA Cup started in 1872 Jorji. One hundred and fifty years of documented history have shown that our Football codes don’t have any appeal outside their heartlands. Converting half their own country seems to be problematic.

          Enjoy your favourite sport but saying they have more ‘on field action’ is in the eye of the beholder. If that was true I would expect them to be much more popular than they are.

    • December 24th 2013 @ 9:51am
      Kevin said | December 24th 2013 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      Brett fair point , but some are kept hidden because either there is no public interest or vested interests keep the there

      What tv station would not want a show that rates 1 mil per game

      • Columnist

        December 24th 2013 @ 10:15am
        Brett McKay said | December 24th 2013 @ 10:15am | ! Report

        I don’t disagree at all Kevin, I just want to quell any thought that FTA were interested initially.

        You’re right, every network would want to show something capable of cracking 1M viewers, but I don’t think even Ten thought they’d be this good to start with. The average figure last season on Fox was around 260-270K I believe, so even if Ten managed 500-600K in the first few rounds, I’d imagine they’d have been happy. As it turns out, even the washout in Hobart rated north of 450K.

        So it’s a gamble from Ten set to reap big rewards for them, and that’s great for all involved.

        It does most certainly put a lid on some A-League optimism, though..

        • December 24th 2013 @ 10:31am
          Matt F said | December 24th 2013 @ 10:31am | ! Report

          I was reading an article last Thursday or Friday that said hat Ch 10 and CA had set a goal of 500k average viewers per game. Fair to say that they’re delighted with the first rounds ratings.

          Incidentally, while there are some aspects of 10’s coverage that I despise (Andy Maher and the crosses to the home viewer) I’ve been pretty impressed with Gilchrist and Ponting in the commentary box. Sir Viv was pretty good value during the Sydney derby as well.

    • December 24th 2013 @ 11:07am
      MRL said | December 24th 2013 @ 11:07am | ! Report

      It must be remembered the BBL is an channel 10. There would be many viewers, mostly elderly, who would turn on the TV in prime time expecting to see Jamie Oliver cooking Xmas dinner or some US cop drama. They stumble across the cricket and simply stay there not having even known it was showing. Those who watch the aleague directly seek it out.
      Go the reds. Go the Adelaide Strikers.

      • December 25th 2013 @ 4:49pm
        BigBen said | December 25th 2013 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

        What a load of BS.

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