Information sourced from the 2012 AFL Annual Report
In the first year of the new broadcast rights agreements with the Seven Network, Foxtel, Fox Sports and Telstra, fans around Australia had unprecedented access to live coverage of AFL matches across more platforms than ever before.
Highlights of this enhanced coverage included:
- Live Friday night football on the Seven Network in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, the ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania.
- Four games in every round live on the Seven Network (7Mate) in New South Wales, ACT and Queensland.
- Live or near-live Friday night football on the Seven Network in South Australia and a reduced delay into Western Australia.
- Every game every week live on Fox Sports/FOX FOOTY on Foxtel and live on IPTV.
- Every game, every week live on Telstra mobile and T-Box.
- In New South Wales, the ACT and Queensland, in addition to coverage on the Seven Network multi-channel (7Mate), no matches were lost to black spots on Saturdays or Sundays as had been the case in previous years, with all matches broadcast live on Fox Sports/FOX FOOTY on Foxtel
The 2012 Toyota AFL Premiership Season continued to draw strong audiences on free-to-air television and the new rights agreement resulted in a significant increase in viewers watching AFL matches on subscription television.
An average gross national weekly audience of 4.781 million people watched the premiership season on the Seven Network and Fox Sports, maintaining the AFL’s position as the most watched sports competition in Australia.
Total AFL television audiences increased 12 per cent on 2011 with cumulative audiences up in every market compared to 2012. Including the Toyota AFL Finals Series, a total of 45 AFL matches averaged a national audience of more than one million viewers in 2012, compared to 17 such matches in 2011.
Free-to-air television audiences held steady across the season, while viewership on subscription television increased its share of overall AFL audiences from 18 per cent to 33 per cent, helping to make Fox FOOTY in 2012 the No. 1 rating channel on subscription television. National audiences for Friday night football increased 29 per cent on 2011 during the home and away season and for the frst time every Friday night match averaged more than one million viewers.
The highest in the home and away season was the round three clash between Carlton and Collingwood, which attracted 1.522 million viewers nationally. Including the Finals Series, a total of 45 AFL matches averaged a national audience of more than one million viewers in 2012 – more than double the 17 matches that attracted over one million viewers in 2011.
Total AFL television audiences grew 12 per cent on 2011, with cumulative audiences in all markets up year on year. The largest growth for any market was in Sydney, where viewership grew by 33 per cent, spurred by the debut season of the GWS Giants and a strong performance all year from the eventual premiership team, the Sydney Swans. The most watched match of the home and away season was again the Anzac Day clash between Collingwood and Essendon, which attracted 1.736 million viewers nationally across free-to-air and subscription television.
The game was the highest rating home and away match since OzTAM ratings were introduced in 2001.
The 10 most-watched matches of the 2012 Toyota AFL Premiership Season were:
> Collingwood vs. Essendon, Anzac Day, round fve, 1.736 million.
> Carlton vs. Collingwood, round three, 1.522 million.
> Collingwood vs. Geelong Cats, round eight, 1.509 million.
> St Kilda vs. Richmond, round 10, 1.478 million.
> Hawthorn vs. Collingwood, round one, 1.412 million.
> Collingwood vs. Carlton, round 15, 1.333 million.
> St Kilda vs. Fremantle, round four, 1.312 million.
> Geelong Cats vs. Essendon, round 17, 1.309 million.
> Fremantle vs. Carlton, round fve, 1.305 million.
> Richmond vs. Carlton, round one, 1.290 million.
The Toyota AFL Grand Final was the most-watched annual sporting event in Australia for the year. The national average audience of 4,080,608 in metropolitan and regional Australia for the Seven Network’s telecast of the 2012 season fnale was 15 per cent up on the 2011 Grand Final. It was the highest rating Grand Final since 2006. The audience peaked at 5.08 million in the latter stages of the match, representing an 82 per cent national audience share.
Overall, the Toyota AFL Finals Series audiences were up 22 per cent on 2011, with the cumulative national audience for the four rounds of the Finals Series being 18.1 million.
The Toyota AFL Grand Final continued to be the most watched annual sporting event held in Australia with an average national audience of 4.08 million and a peak audience of 5.08 million meaning that 82 per cent of all televisions in use at that time were tuned into the Grand Final. It was the highest-rating Grand Final since the 2006 Grand Final between the West Coast Eagles and Sydney Swans.
The FOX FOOTY telecast of the preliminary final between the Sydney Swans and Collingwood averaged 503,000 viewers nationally, making it the highest-ever rating AFL match on the platform. FOX FOOTY was ranked the No. 1 channel on Foxtel in 2012.
On average, 1.226 million people listened to AFL matches during the radio survey periods 4-6 in 2012 (these are the three survey periods that fall during the six months of the season).
And in another sign of the changing media landscape, the app/web stream for AFL radio broadcast rights holders via the popular AFL app averaged 160,193 listeners per round of the Premiership Season and an average
97,513 listeners for the Finals Series. Another 38,544 average listeners tuned into web streams on the AFL Website per round of the Premiership Season.