AFL 2021 off to a bang on TV and Streaming in Round 1

The opening round of the 2021 AFL Premiership Season on the Seven Network was a very welcome return for sports fans, winning its timeslots and cementing the AFL’s standing as the #1 winter sport.

The four blockbuster games on Channel 7 and 7mate reached 3.8 million viewers nationally, including 2.84 million in the capital cities.

Seven’s live and free coverage on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and yesterday ranked #1 in its timeslots among all people and 25 to 54s, and captured 77% of all AFL TV viewers.

Seven’s average national audience of 713,000 included solid increases in the northern states. In Brisbane, the number of people watching Seven’s coverage jumped 15% year-on-year. Across regional Australia, Seven’s audience was up 3%.

Overall: The total average TV audience for Round 1 was 4.53M made up of 2.38M for Metro, 761K for Regional and 1.39M for Pay TV.

Brisbane audience: Up 54 per cent compared to Round One in 2019. Up 59 per cent compared to the 2015 – 2019 five year average for Round One.

Sydney audience: Up 17 per cent compared to the 2015 – 2019 five year average for the Thursday night season-opener.

Melbourne audience: Friday night footy was up 16 per cent in Melbourne compared to the 2019 season average. Saturday night’s Essendon v Hawthorn match was up seven per cent compared to an average Saturday night game in 2019.

Foxtel Media released viewing details for round 1, which saw an average audience across Foxtel Platforms and Kayo of 238,000, broadly in line with 2020 and up 6% on 2019.

  • Last Thursday’s Richmond v Carlton season opener, which saw an average audience of 365,000, was the second-best average audience for a season opener in subscription television history.  Other Round One highlights included:
  • Adelaide v Geelong was the number two game of the round with an average audience of 335,000 and the highest rating clash for this fixture since 2016.
  • Saturday night’s Essendon v Hawthorn and Brisbane v Sydney games had a cumulative audience of 365,000, up 15% on the cumulative audience of Round 1 Saturday night in 2019 (Bulldogs v Sydney and Brisbane v West Coast) and up 46% on Round 1 Saturday night last year (GWS v Geelong and Gold Coast v Port Adelaide).
  • Sunday night’s West Coast v Gold Coast game had an average audience of 239,000, up 18% on 2019 Round 1 Sunday night average (Fremantle v North Melbourne) and up 9% on last year (West Coast v Melbourne).


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