The following is sourced from the 2008 AFL Annual Report
The 2008 Toyota AFL Premiership season was the second under the current domestic broadcast rights agreement. The AFL consolidated the relationships with its television broadcast partners, the Seven Network, Network Ten and Foxtel and achieved a number of outstanding audience results.
The Seven and Ten networks continued to share the terrestrial free-to-air rights, embracing innovation and technological opportunities in their broadcasts of four Toyota AFL Premiership Season matches per round, the Toyota AFL Finals Series and the Brownlow Medal count.
Foxtel continued its partnership with the AFL in 2008, broadcasting the remaining four matches per round on subscription channel Fox Sports and achieving a three per cent year-on-year increase in its average AFL match viewership. As in 2007, the four matches were broadcast live nationally, in the Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, Sunday early and Sunday twilight timeslots.
The average TV audience per round during the Toyota AFL Premiership Season was 4.668 million compared to 4.887 million in 2007, a decrease of 4.5 per cent. The national Fox Sports audience per game was 168,808, an increase of 3.3 per cent on the 2007 average per game of 163,460.
The Anzac Day clash between Collingwood Essendon sustained its large TV audience in 2008, watched by a national audience in excess of 1.5 million people.
Other highlights of the 2008 season included:
■ The continuation of live Friday night football broadcasts into New South Wales and Queensland markets on Fox Sports Plus Main Event Channel 518.
■ The broadcast of all matches for teams located outside Victoria back into their home states on terrestrial free-to-air television.
■ The six most watched matches during the Toyota AFL Premiership season involved Hawthorn, Collingwood, Essendon, Geelong Cats, Adelaide, Richmond, Carlton, Melbourne and Sydney Swans, with an average national audience as follows:
- Collingwood v Essendon, Anzac Day (round six) – 1,501,000 viewers.
- Hawthorn v Geelong, Friday night (round 17) – 1,200,000 viewers.
- Adelaide v Richmond, Sunday (round 19) – 1,179,000 viewers.
- Collingwood v Carlton, Sunday (round 12) – 1,166,000 viewers.
- Melbourne v Geelong Cats, Friday night (round 19) – 1,142,000 viewers.
- Sydney Swans v Collingwood, Saturday night (round 14) – 1,135,000 viewers.
■ The most watched Toyota AFL Premiership season match on subscription television was the Round 14 Fremantle v Essendon clash, which attracted an average viewership of 288,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1.
A national cumulative average audience for each of the four weeks of the 2008 AFL Finals Series of 3.6 million people.
The Seven Network’s broadcast of the 2008 Toyota AFL Grand Final had an average national audience of 3.247 million people and was the second most-watched TV program of any kind behind the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.
■ An average viewership of more than 1.1 million people for the telecast of the 2008 Brownlow Medal.
Hall of Fame tribute game
The Hall of Fame Tribute Match was held at the MCG and saw 50of the AFL’s best players playing for Victoria and a Dream Team in front of 69,294 spectators and attracted a television audience of about 1.7 million people.
AFL radio audiences continued to grow in 2008, increasing by 5.2 per cent across the five mainland capital cities, with an average of 1.3 million radio listeners per week across the five surveyed AFL match timeslots
The AFL/Telstra network maintained its strong position with more than one million unique visits per round, an increase of nine per cent on 2007.
The official Collingwood website was again the most popular AFL/Telstra club website during the 2008 season, averaging 135,000 unique visits a month. The Hawthorn, Carlton and Geelong
Cats club websites each drew more 100,000 unique visits a month during the season.