the following information is taken from the 2005 AFL Annual Report
Almost 800,000 people viewed the 2005 Wizard Home Loans Cup Grand Final between Carlton and the West Coast Eagles.
Free-to-air telecasts on the Nine Network and Network Ten, and subscription television via Foxtel’s FOX Footy Channel, attracted the largest TV viewership on record for the 2005 Toyota AFL premiership season and the Toyota AFL finals series – an increase of 1.2 per cent compared with 2004. Women make up 38 per cent of the television audience for AFL matches.
The Sydney, Adelaide and Perth TV markets all showed big increases in TV viewership, with rises of 14.4 per cent, 4.6 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively.
Since 2002, when the AFL’s current broadcast arrangements began, national television audiences have increased by 11 per cent.
FOX Footy Channel had a remarkable year with a 30 per cent increase in viewership compared with 2004. It also broadcast the 2005 Australian Football International Cup Grand Final as the curtain-raiser to the Collingwood-Carlton clash in round 20 and produced a program that covered the entire tournament
Eight teams from five states featured in the top six most nationally watched premiership season matches in 2005, all of which were Nine Network broadcasts. They were:
• Brisbane Lions v St Kilda (round one), average 1.14 million viewers.
• Essendon v Collingwood (round five), average 1.13 million viewers.
• Collingwood v Port Adelaide (round 14), average 981,000 viewers.
• West Coast Eagles v Essendon (round 12), average 980,000 viewers.
• Sydney Swans v West Coast Eagles (round 17), average 922,0000 viewers.
• Fremantle v St Kilda (round 21), average of 917,000 viewers.
Several premiership season matches that were sell-outs were broadcast live into home markets. These included the Brisbane LionsSt Kilda match in round one, Adelaide-Port Adelaide in round three and the Anzac Day clash between Essendon and Collingwood. The Anzac Day game was the second most-watched premiership season match of the year, achieving an average national audience of 1.13 million viewers – slightly up on last year’s 966,310 viewers for the same match. The 611,000 viewers in Melbourne made it the most watched premiership season game in the Melbourne market.
National television audiences for the 2005 Toyota AFL finals series increased by 14 per cent compared with 2004, largely influenced by the participation of the Sydney Swans.
The St Kilda-Sydney Swans preliminary final at the MCG was the most-watched preliminary final in history with an average audience of 1.9 million in the five mainland capital cities. The six most-watched AFL matches of 2005 were:
• AFL Grand Final, Sydney Swans v West Coast Eagles, 3.38 million viewers.
• Preliminary final, St Kilda v Sydney Swans, 1.9 million.
• Preliminary final, West Coast Eagles v Adelaide, 1.59 million.
• Qualifying final, West Coast Eagles v Sydney Swans, 1.52 million.
• Semi-final, Adelaide v Port Adelaide, 1.29 million.
• Qualifying final, Adelaide v St Kilda, 1.23 million
The Toyota AFL Grand Final between the Sydney Swans and West Coast Eagles was the most-watched television program in Australia, with an average audience of 3.386 million in the fi ve
mainland capital cities.
In Sydney, the AFL Grand Final attracted an average audience of more than 991,000 people compared with an average of 329,000 in 2004. The Eagles’ participation drove a 35 per cent increase in the average audience in Perth with 511,000 viewers compared with 350,000 in 2004.
The next two most-watched TV programs in Australia were Network Ten’s post-match and pre-match coverage of the Grand Final, which attracted average audiences of 2.981 million and 2.593 million respectively in the five mainland capital cities
National radio audiences increased by seven per cent in 2005 compared with 2004 to a record weekly average of more than 1.1 million.
An average of 1.23 million unique browsers per month visited the AFL Telstra online network –- a combination of the AFL website and the 16 club websites. This represents growth of 36 per cent on 2004 figures and maintains the AFL-Telstra network position as the most popular sporting website in Australia.