AFL Grand Final TV Ratings Dominate Viewing in Australia
The 2018 AFL Grand Final TV ratings are in.
The thrilling epic between the West Coast Eagles and Collingwood Magpies was watched by an average audience of just over 2.632 million people. That’s across the industry standard network measurement of Australia’s 5-largest cities, according to TV industry blogs.
The 2018 AFL Grand Final recorded a peak audience of 4.3 million in-home viewers across Australia’s major cities and regional areas. This according to figures from AFL House.
Perth’s AFL grand final audience, the home of the Eagles, hit a massive 568,000 people tuning in for the local 7 TV station.
In metro Sydney, 508,000 people had their TV’s on 7 for the thrilling finish.
Here in Melbourne, the TV audience for the 2018 AFL Grand Final peaked at 1.45 million people on 7, in the last minutes.
The peak was late in the game, with scores within a few points in the incredible battle that saw West Coast eventually reining supreme for the 2018 Premiership flag.
Across the afternoon, the game averaged 3.378 million viewers nation-wide. With the numbers climbing with each thrilling minute, and as non-fans tuned in to see the game unfold around Australia. As the game time went past 5pm Melbourne time, thousands more tuned in, with the final siren about 5.15pm.
Meanwhile, millions more people were packed into pubs, restaurants, bars and clubs. There were also big fan live sites, one at Collingwood’s Holden Centre and Perth’s Optus Stadium – here a combined 20,000 – 25,000 people watched on big screens.
The ratings don’t count out-of-home viewership, which is likely to be in the many millions.
A 2017 survey by Roy Morgan showed 8.4 million Australians, about 1-3 people in Australia, watched the AFL Grand Final. While 6.5 million watched the NRL decider.
By that measure, AFL wins the TV ratings by nearly 2-million people, likely to be similar in 2018.
If the Roy Morgan figures are seen in a wider context, the AFL Grand Final would be similar in comparison to the national penetration of a US Super Bowl.
In the NFL decider, about 110-million of 330-million American’s tune in on TV. In the US out-of-home viewing is estimated in ratings reports, whereas here they are not.
However, the ratings in 2018 were not as impressive as previous years.
In-fact the game was a ten-year low for the AFL Grand Final, which will surely increase calls for a later start time for the viewing convenience of non-AFL fans, particularly in east coast cities.
Meanwhile, in the Sunday NRL Grand Final, between the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm, 2.1 million people on average watched across the 5-major cities. Half a million less than the AFL Grand Final TV ratings.
However, regional audiences are bigger for NRL. Population centres of regional NSW/ACT (Newcastle, Canberra) and Queensland (Gold Coast, North Queensland) represent several Rugby League teams, where interest is high for the game. 910,000 people tuned into the NRL Grand Final in these areas, while 770,000 tuned in for the AFL Grand Final.
The total national average over 2-hours of NRL was 3.03 million people; while the AFL Grand Final TV ratings over 3-hours of AFL was 3.38 million people.
These ratings are likely to be revised, as ratings eventually also account for people watching recordings in the days after the event. Full TV ratings for AFL and NRL won’t be known for a week, as the 7-day post event figures come in.
100,000 more people watched a recording of the AFL Grand Final in the days after the 2017 event, eventually adding the show TV ratings for that year.
These figures also don’t account for online streaming via smart TVs on 7plus, Telstra AFL mobile apps and Foxtel replays.
The 7 network also replayed the AFL Grand Final on the Saturday evening in Perth, as well as the next day nationally on 7 around 11am – 2pm local times.
The figures will no doubt impress media buyers, who pay an estimated $130,000 for a 30-second TV commercial during goal breaks at the AFL Grand Final. The 7 Network pays an estimated $125 million a year to hold the Free TV rights to AFL home-and-away season games, AFL Finals (the Grand Final exclusively) and some AFLW games.
An analysis by The Herald Sun this weekend showed the AFL rights are key to Seven winning ratings all year; with AFL games going head to head with NRL winning 7 the TV ratings night every single time.
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