Grand final TV: AFL beats out the NRL

John Davidson Roar Guru

By John Davidson, John Davidson is a Roar Guru

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    The Sydney Swans’ dramatic defeat of Hawthorn in Saturday’s decider has helped the AFL to an impressive national television ratings win over the NRL’s Sunday grand final between the Storm and the Bulldogs.

    The ratings for the AFL grand final on Seven were the biggest since 2005. The 2012 edition racked up 3.196 million viewers in the five metro markets, according to OzTam.

    This included an audience of 1.406 million in Melbourne, 313,000 in Brisbane, 338,000 in Adelaide, 399,000 in Perth and 740,000 in Sydney, obviously helped by the presence of the Swans.

    This figure was a big boost from 2011’s ratings and was the third most watched metropolitan TV program this year. It also beat the 2012 State of Origin figures.

    For a code focused on expansion in NSW and Queensland, this will be a heart-warming result. It also points to the strength of the Swans as a crowd-puller.

    For the NRL, it is a slightly disappointing outcome. The Melbourne Storm’s biting-affected defeat of the Canterbury Bulldogs on Nine managed a five metro figure of 2.424 million. This included 957,000 in Sydney, 751,000 in Melbourne and 564,000 in Brisbane but just 51,000 in Adelaide and 46,000 in Perth.

    While encouragingly this was an improvement on 2011’s grand final figure, it is well below the AFL’s national result.

    It shows the NRL has some work to do to spread the game outside of NSW and Queensland. Expansion into the WA market, and perhaps another Queensland team, should definitely be a priority, I believe.

    It could also mean a change in the time of the kick-off of the rugby league showpiece and a decision to actually sign some credible musicians as the pre-match entertainment, not some contracted Nine talent.

    However, there was some good news for the NRL – its regional audience was higher than the AFL’s.

    Of course, the TV networks cut their broadcast coverages into several different programs to inflate the figures. Seven’s AFL coverage was broken down into five segments and Nine’s NRL into three.

    In my opinion, the introduction of the AFL Media Unit, the re-establishment of the Fox Footy channel and the new broadcast rights deal that has every AFL game shown on TV live, has boosted the sport’s appeal.

    Interestingly, the NRL grand final was watched by more people in Melbourne than the AFL grand final in Sydney. Is this down to the strength of the Melbourne Storm’s following and rugby league in general in Victoria? Or the belief of some that Melbournians are more passionate sports fans?

    More food for thought.

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    The Crowd Says (147)

    • Roar Guru

      October 1st 2012 @ 4:40pm
      Redb said | October 1st 2012 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

      Melbourne TV audiences were much larger than Sydney for both codes so to do a NRL v AFL audience comparison Sydney/Melb this needs to be factored in.

      The AFL can still go to a twilight timeslot which would mean an even bigger overall result.

      The AFL GF was a far better spectacle and game.

      • October 1st 2012 @ 5:40pm
        Patrick said | October 1st 2012 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

        “The AFL GF was a far better spectacle and game.” That’s an opinion, not fact.

        • Roar Guru

          October 2nd 2012 @ 9:52am
          Redb said | October 2nd 2012 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          You know it’s true.

          • Roar Guru

            October 2nd 2012 @ 10:15am
            MyGeneration said | October 2nd 2012 @ 10:15am | ! Report

            Yes, it’s true that it’s an opinion, not a fact.

            • Roar Guru

              October 2nd 2012 @ 10:30am
              Redb said | October 2nd 2012 @ 10:30am | ! Report

              Thats your opinion. 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                October 2nd 2012 @ 11:05am
                MyGeneration said | October 2nd 2012 @ 11:05am | ! Report

                You finally got something right.

        • October 2nd 2012 @ 10:27am
          Anthony said | October 2nd 2012 @ 10:27am | ! Report

          All press reports for AFL were about the thrilling game, the spectacle, the atmosphere, the courage of the Swans players & how amazing Sydney was. Monday’s reports of NRL were headlined Disgrace in both Sydney papers. Biting & fighting were the press reports. In Melbourne the focus was on Storm finally winning “officially” & how good that was for the Club.
          Interestingly, each of the Premiers won by 10 points – but the difference between the 2 games after 1/2 time was gigantic.

      • October 1st 2012 @ 9:14pm
        Armado said | October 1st 2012 @ 9:14pm | ! Report

        If the AFL figures are the best since 2005, then the move placing another side in Sydney metro area was a very good move indeed. Maybe another side on the southern bit of Sydney somewhere needs to be investigated to tap into the vast population.

        What is the tv viewership around the Newcastle area. That area should be investigated further to host football.

        It was interesting to read in the paper today that Kieran Jack, son of a rugby league player and Sydney native took up an interest in football after the 1997 North Melbourne/Sydney GF.

        • October 1st 2012 @ 10:18pm
          Ads said | October 1st 2012 @ 10:18pm | ! Report

          That would be 1996 Sydney v North GF – 1997 was St Kilda v Adelaide

        • October 1st 2012 @ 11:16pm
          Watching from Florida said | October 1st 2012 @ 11:16pm | ! Report

          Eventually now should have four teams at least- while Newcastle is definitely a strong RL base, it’s soccer and basketball(?)team shows it can support multiple local codes. The Black Diamond cup in Newcastle is one off the oldest and most respected Australian Football comps in the country too. Woolieon the south coast may be good regionally, but Canberra, again a former traditional ARF territory should have a team before this.

          • October 1st 2012 @ 11:44pm
            Brewski said | October 1st 2012 @ 11:44pm | ! Report

            I like ambitious people, but i think you are pushing the envelope here, lets just get GWS working first.

            But in principal you are correct, i can see a third AFL side linking southern Sydney and the Gong, but gee that would be along long way in the future.

    • October 1st 2012 @ 4:44pm
      Fussballs AFL tracking spreadsheet said | October 1st 2012 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

      Interesting results, no doubt each will interpret them according to their own viewpoint. I’d say the two stand-out results are the 750K for the NRL in Melbourne, and 313K for the AFL in Brisbane. The latter figure is nearly the same as the Perth and Adelaide AFL audiences which is particular impressive given the lack of QLD involvement.

    • October 1st 2012 @ 4:50pm
      Leo said | October 1st 2012 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

      i actually enjoy the closer AFL final and very impressive tv numbers by AFL and that’s from a rugby fan. Can’t wait to see an AFL team in NZ.

      • October 1st 2012 @ 5:27pm
        Go warriors said | October 1st 2012 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

        Agree Leo and it is probably the only thing we agree on. It would be fantastic for NZ to have a team in the AFL. I hope it does happen but I cant see happening anytime soon though unfortunetly.

        Anyway two great grand finals and a great result for AFL in Sydney and RL in Melbourne.

        • October 1st 2012 @ 8:02pm
          Emric said | October 1st 2012 @ 8:02pm | ! Report

          Go Warriors.. Why would you want the AFL to grow stronger in NZ and make League even weaker or are you secretly hoping that it will target the NZRU?

          • October 1st 2012 @ 8:21pm
            Go warriors said | October 1st 2012 @ 8:21pm | ! Report

            Emric I am not as paranoid as what you are. I enjoyed the AFL grand final and was thinking how good would it have been if NZ had a team in the comp. There are a lot of Kiwis in Melbourne and Perth and this would unite Kiwis just like the Warriors unite Kiwis in NSW and QLD.

            I dont know why you assume an AFL team would weaken League in NZ and dont worry bro it is not going to weaken your precious rugby. It will just carve out a nieche and give us Kiwis another team to support.

            • October 1st 2012 @ 9:01pm
              Emric said | October 1st 2012 @ 9:01pm | ! Report

              Bro – Have you not watched watched as AFL has attempted to overthrow Rugby League in NSW and Queensland? Buying up League players to promote the game in Western Sydney this isn’t the act of a sport trying to cut a niche its the actions of a sport trying to corner the market.

              Lets assume they attempt the same tactics which have been successful in New Zealand and start offering massive amounts of money to kids coming out of New Zealand rugby academies not only would this weaken New Zealand Rugby, it would also weaken New Zealand Rugby League which depends on that talent stream.

              Weakening New Zealand sport in general is the goal of the AFL now the Storm in Melbourne they carved out a niche group of supporters. As for kiwis in Melbourne they all support AFL teams already there are no grantees that they would support a New Zealand AFL team at all.

              Any sport which weakens New Zealand mana should be discouraged from our sporting arena New Zealand should spend its money focusing on sports which make our nation great. AFL is played in one country leave it there

              • October 2nd 2012 @ 8:42am
                micka said | October 2nd 2012 @ 8:42am | ! Report

                The thing is Emric, its been done now with marginal results.
                At worst an AFL team in NZ might pick up a couple of players from the other codes but it is not going to be some overthrow.

              • October 2nd 2012 @ 8:49am
                Boomshanka said | October 2nd 2012 @ 8:49am | ! Report

                “As for kiwis in Melbourne they all support AFL teams already ”

                Really, I know of many that don’t support and AFL team (myself included) and I’ve been here for over a decade.

                FYI: I’m actually in favour of the AFL crossing the ditch, just as long as its AFL money not the locals underwriting appearance monies (which would appear to be the case with St Kilda guaranteed a bonus payment whilst the Wellington city council guaranteeing returns).

                You and I have nothing to fear from a sport professionally played in only a handful of cities here, just as the AFL have nothing to fear from Rugby League played in Melbourne.

              • October 2nd 2012 @ 10:16am
                Leo said | October 2nd 2012 @ 10:16am | ! Report

                There are many Kiwis who support AFL teams in Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide. A few local councils in NZ have loss money bringing in NRL games in the last ten years so the St Kilda game is no different.

              • October 2nd 2012 @ 10:50am
                Boomshanka said | October 2nd 2012 @ 10:50am | ! Report

                Emric said “All” not “Many”. Only the media would have you believe that all Victorian’s, when they move here select and barrack for the AFL.

                FYI: The NRL has been played in recent times in Rotorua, Taupo and Christchurch (as well as a chairty game in Greymouth) thanks to Australian based teams choosing to promote the game in NZ (curiously and a little worryingly, the Warriors will not chose to play outside Auckland).

                All these games were well attended and not subsided by the locals. Can you provide a reference to such a loss making event requiring a bailout by the council of an NRL event as you purport?

              • October 2nd 2012 @ 11:02am
                Emric said | October 2nd 2012 @ 11:02am | ! Report


                There are none as the NRL is clever enough to target areas of the country which have a good chance of a decent crowd. The NRL games played in remote NZ areas have all made money the problem is there are not enough of them.

                Your around about the Warriors they are far far to Auckland centric to be considered NZ Warriors they are the Auckland Warriors still

              • October 2nd 2012 @ 11:06am
                Leo said | October 2nd 2012 @ 11:06am | ! Report

                Hamilton pays high price for Warriors match

                29 March 2006 By GIFFORD LEE

                The Hamilton City Council is set to lose more than $50,000 for the second year running on the Parramatta Eels against New Zealand Warriors rugby league match.

                Poor crowd numbers are to blame for the deficit – and it has been revealed the attendance figure announced at the stadium was inflated.
                It appeared the March 18 match would go close to covering costs when the ground announcer said at half-time the “official” gate was 16,089 people. The new “official” number is about 12,500.

                Stadium events manager Mark Christie said it was a “simple case of human error” and not an intentional oversight.

                Ticket company Ticket Master gave its estimate at half-time after considering pre-sales and the walk-up crowd, and officials broadcast that number.

                The council, which underwrites the stadium, lost $61,000 on last year’s encounter between the Warriors and the Eels when almost 17,000 people turned up.

                Despite stadium officials attempting to cut costs this year – “we didn’t bring the (Eels) cheerleaders over this time” – the council should expect to wear a similar figure in 2006.

                Hamilton Mayor Michael Redman said there was a tentative three-year arrangement with the Eels to use Hamilton as their home away from Sydney and he would sit down with “the interested parties” after 2007 to determine the future of the deal.
                He said there was an appeal to having the match played in Hamilton for the city’s profile and it satisfied the council’s aim of using Waikato Stadium for more than just rugby union.
                The Eels won’t be out of pocket as they are promised a fixed appearance fee.
                The match on Thursday will be the Warriors’ first of 2009, and their fourth game in Hamilton since 2004.

                The last time the Warriors took the central sporting stage in the city, in an NRL match against the Parramatta Eels in 2006, low crowd numbers cost the city more than $144,000.

                In 2005, an NRL game against the Eels cost the council a further $61,000.

    • October 1st 2012 @ 5:00pm
      Strummer Jones said | October 1st 2012 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

      Incredible NRL figures; Melbourne had just 200,000 fewer viewers than Sydney and 200,000 more than Brizzy. For the AFL, Brisbane was very close to Perth and Adelaide, albeit the former have a much greater population. Is there a discernible trend in AFL Brisbane TV numbers here over the past 12 or so years?

      • October 1st 2012 @ 6:37pm
        Brewski said | October 1st 2012 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

        The AFL has finished the football calender with the highest rating FTA sport broadcast of 2012, the highest rating STV sport broadcast of the year, and Fox Footy was the number 1 rating channel on fox every single week of the premiership season.

        The AFL GF is played at a really bad time slot, everywhere in Australia, particuarly in WA. If it was played on Saturday twilight/night you could add another million viewers.

        Play the game on a Sunday evening and you add on even more viewers, although IMO i would actually prefer Saturday twilight, or leave it as it is.

        Don’t follow rating trends, but i do know that there is a significant grass root presence in SE QLD of AF, which is significantly bigger than the Sydney AF scene.

        • October 1st 2012 @ 7:20pm
          Titus said | October 1st 2012 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

          Thats funny, my football calender appears to be bigger than yours. Are you sure you aren’t using some outdated version?

          • October 1st 2012 @ 8:12pm
            millane said | October 1st 2012 @ 8:12pm | ! Report

            does it comfort you knowing you have a bigger one titus

            • October 1st 2012 @ 8:14pm
              Titus said | October 1st 2012 @ 8:14pm | ! Report


            • October 1st 2012 @ 8:53pm
              millane said | October 1st 2012 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

              well… middle age can be a challenge for most of us i guess… even soccerina types

              let us know when you get the shiny new red sports car

            • October 1st 2012 @ 9:07pm
              Titus said | October 1st 2012 @ 9:07pm | ! Report

              No worries Millane………enjoy the cricket calender.

            • October 1st 2012 @ 9:13pm
              millane said | October 1st 2012 @ 9:13pm | ! Report

              looking forward to a summer of cricket, nfl and euro soccer…

              • October 2nd 2012 @ 4:02am
                Bob Anderson said | October 2nd 2012 @ 4:02am | ! Report

                NFL, barf. I’m American and am so sick of NFL all the time. You can’t turn on the news without hearing about it. You can’t go out in public without someone asking if you watched the local team’s game. I used to like it along time ago, but rugby is so much better its not even funny and they don’t run around the field dressed in those ridiculous astronaut outfits. BTW, there are only 11 minutes of actual gameplay in an NFL game. But, to each their own.

            • October 1st 2012 @ 9:17pm
              Titus said | October 1st 2012 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

              Well, just make sure you get up off the couch and take a walk around at regular intervals.

          • October 1st 2012 @ 9:30pm
            Brewski said | October 1st 2012 @ 9:30pm | ! Report

            Your calender may say that, mine doesn’t, mine says that their are 2 very distinct and traditional sporting calenders in this country, one is the football season, and the other is the cricket, with a bit of horse racing in between, throw in the Olympics, Commonwealth games etc from time to time.

            You may like the fact that you can watch soccer wall to wall 24/7, i actually like variety.

            • October 1st 2012 @ 9:49pm
              Titus said | October 1st 2012 @ 9:49pm | ! Report

              I like variety too, AFL grand final, State of Origin, Cricket Test matches, Rugby Tests, Tour de France, Superbowl and year round football.

              • October 1st 2012 @ 9:54pm
                Brewski said | October 1st 2012 @ 9:54pm | ! Report

                Of course you like other sports Titus !!, thats why you post solely on soccer matters, except of course when you troll on AFL matters.

    • October 1st 2012 @ 5:01pm
      Horatio said | October 1st 2012 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

      Like to see the regional figures where the NRL does really well – in fact it puts Sydney to shame on a per capita basis. The NRL had the advantage of a Sunday twilight – what happened to the night GF where ratings would be better or does it factor in NZ…However Graham did the game no favours…

    • Roar Rookie

      October 1st 2012 @ 5:07pm
      McGrime said | October 1st 2012 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

      What Jack’s me Off about these figures is that the “A” League does not even get a “Free to Air” game.

      If and when they do look out.

      • October 1st 2012 @ 5:11pm
        Leo said | October 1st 2012 @ 5:11pm | ! Report

        Haven’t they just signed a deal to show some games on sbs?

        • October 1st 2012 @ 5:26pm
          Matt F said | October 1st 2012 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

          No. It’s been a rumour for weeks though

      • October 1st 2012 @ 5:11pm
        Leo said | October 1st 2012 @ 5:11pm | ! Report

        Haven’t they just signed a deal to show some games on sbs?

        • October 1st 2012 @ 8:36pm
          Professor Wagstaff said | October 1st 2012 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

          No. Its been a rumour for a few weeks though (according to Matt F that is).

          Actually, SBS has decided not to pursue the soccer as their policy of showing programs that no one watches has been changed.

          • October 1st 2012 @ 8:49pm
            Titus said | October 1st 2012 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

            I think SBS will continue to show quality broadcasting that interests a global audience Waggy.

            • October 1st 2012 @ 9:01pm
              Dingo said | October 1st 2012 @ 9:01pm | ! Report

              Global Village?

              • October 1st 2012 @ 9:09pm
                Titus said | October 1st 2012 @ 9:09pm | ! Report

                Well…..its no Getaway but it does have its charms.

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