2020 AFL TV Ratings News

This TV Ratings News for the AFL.

Round 2 – First round post COVID Shutdown

Football returned with a bang on Thursday night, as the blockbuster between Richmond and Collingwood became the most-watched AFL home-and-away match in prime time in more than a decade. Ratings released by Seven on Friday showed that it had an average audience of 1.275 million, including 668,000 in Melbourne alone and 1.002 million in the metro markets, making it the highest Thursday-night audience ever. The ratings are the highest for a home-and-away match at any time of day since Anzac Day 2013.

Seven said its metro audience was 58 per cent up on last year’s round-two clash between the Magpies and Tigers, and a massive 70 per cent increase on last season’s Thursday-night average audience.

Fox Footy enjoyed a bumper audience of 342,000 although this was slightly lower than the 351,000 of round one which had been its best for the Thursday-night opener. (These figures do not include those for Fox Sports’ streaming service, Kayo.)

Fans hungry for their first taste of football in nearly 12 weeks warmly welcomed the AFL back, with almost 5.8 million tuning in across round two. That figure – based on OzTAM data – equates to a 1.8 million bump on last year’s average of 3.969 million per regular-season round.

Collingwood and Richmond’s dour 36-all draw attracted a national audience of 1.643m across free-to-air and subscription channels, while Geelong’s 61-point blowout of Hawthorn had 1.278m viewers. Essendon’s six-point win over Sydney was the next highest-rated match with 876,000, with the one-sided Port Adelaide-Adelaide showdown also attracting 690,000 nationally.

Round 3

Seven revealed on an average national audience of 824,000 had tuned in to the opening match of round three at the MCG, a major drop on last week’s return to football after the COVID-19 hiatus when the Thursday night draw between power clubs Collingwood and the Tigers enjoyed a record national average of 1.275 million for a prime-time match. The metro ratings across Australia also slipped, from an average of 1.02 million last week to 624,000. However, Seven said this was still up 6 per cent compared to last year’s average of its Thursday night coverage. Seven also took heart from stellar ratings in Melbourne, where an average of 398,000 tuned in, up 15 per cent year on year and making it the most-watched show outside of its prime-time news bulletin in Melbourne on the night.

Seven said it had enjoyed an average audience of 35,182 in Sydney, up 20 per cent year on year for a Thursday night clash, while Brisbane’s average audience of 29,628 was 18 per cent higher than last year’s metro average

Seven had taken delight in its average metro audience of Thursday night thumping the NRL’s free-to-air average of 326,000, broadcast on Nine.  Fox Footy’s audience had also dipped from last Thursday’s audience of 342,000, which in turn had been slightly lower than the 351,000 of round one between Carlton and the Tigers which had been its best for the Thursday night opener. (These figures do not include those for Fox Sports’ streaming service, Kayo)

Womens Footy

A Roy Morgan survey has revealed that 2.78 million people now watch the NAB AFL Women’s competition on television. The figure is an increase of 360,000, up from 2.42m in 2019, with key growth in both males and females and across all age groups.

Roy Morgan’s Single Source survey interviewed over 50,000 Australians about their TV habits and found that more men (1.64m) watched AFLW on TV compared to women (1.14m) and that the most popular age group was 50-64, with over 750,000 watching.

Round 4 

Foxtel said on Monday its ratings were up 21 per cent year-on-year across the group’s linear and video on demand platforms, including Kayo, the streaming service which has been a key driver of the growth.

Seven said its average metro audience nationally was 573,000 – up 8.7 per cent on last year. The average Melbourne audience was 318,000 – 15.7 per cent up on last year. There had also been a notable bounce in Sydney, averaging 38,000 – up 20.2 per cent – and in Brisbane, averaging 38,000, up 38.4 per cent.

Round 5 

After five rounds, New South Wales and Queensland audiences have risen by 16 per cent on free-to-air television against 2019 figures, with a 38 per cent increase in the Brisbane audience alone as against 2019, as the Lions and SUNS both occupy positions in the top eight. Overall, national TV ratings for the AFL competition are up a staggering 21 per cent on 2019, reflecting the increased interest in the game and the closeness of the competition.

The Brisbane Lions’ Saturday night game against the West Coast Eagles in Round Three saw the second-highest free-to-air audience in Brisbane for a home and away game since 2014. It also marked the highest free-to-air audience for a home and away game since 2011.

Thursday night marquee matches have been particularly strong, averaging 1.2 million fans per game, 16 per cent ahead of last year, while Friday night audiences have increased nine per cent against last year’s figures to reach an average of 1.1 million fans per game.

Top Five Games for 2020
1. Round 2 Collingwood v Richmond (Thursday night – 1.63m viewers – highest ever Thursday night home-and-away television audience)
2. Round 1 Richmond v Carlton (Friday night – 1.37m viewers)
3. Round 2 Geelong Cats v Hawthorn (Friday night – 1.28m viewers)
4. Round 5 Collingwood v Essendon (Friday night – 1.12m viewers)
5. Round 3 Richmond v Hawthorn (Thursday night – 1.10m viewers)

Round 6

Total viewing across Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo is up 12 per cent on last season and the Carlton v Bulldogs game played last weekend attracted the highest subscription television viewing of Round 6 with 325,000 including a massive audience watching on Kayo.

Round 7 

AFL audiences on Fox Footy during 2020 are up 19% YOY on Foxtel and Kayo. The Geelong v Collingwood the highest rating match of round 7 averaged 317,000 across Foxtel and Kayo. With a live Fox Footy audience of 240,000, that indicates the Kayo audience was 77,000.