In 2022, the average audience on Channel Nine has eclipsed the combined average for both broadcasters in 2020. About 150,000 people have tuned in to watch NRLW matches on Channel Nine in metropolitan and regional markets.
The 53 per cent increase in viewers on Nine is reflected in a similar rise on Foxtel, which has seen most games attract between 50,000 and 60,000 viewers.
The highest rating match of the season on Nine – a record-breaking 40-4 win by the Dragons over the Knights – attracted a little more than 142,000 viewers in metropolitan and regional areas on Channel Nine alone.
The combined average of just over 200,000 viewers is about a 50 per cent increase on 2020, and rivals that of NRL and AFL matches that are played in early timeslots on Saturdays and Sundays.
Home and Away season
The 2022 NRL home and away season was watched by an estimated 118.964m viewers cumulatively over the season, at an average of 620,000 viewers per game.
Broken down by segment this comes to.
- FTA 32.267m @ 453,000 p/g
- BVOD 2.617m @ 32,000 p/g
- FOX STB 42.742m @ 222,000 p/g
- Kayo est 37.201m @ 194,000 p/g
24 NRL matches reached the million mark for the season – The top 3 in the last 5 rounds, all 3 involve the Storm.
- #1 R24 Storm/Roosters 1.229m
- #2 R25 Eels/Storm 1.188m
- #3 R22 Panthers/Storm 1.182m
4 NRL matches reached 600,000 viewers on Nine FTA, with Thursday nights taking 7 of the top 10.
- #1 R1 Panthers/Eagles 664k
- #2 R24 Storm/Roosters 612k
- #3 R25 Eels/Storm 611k
- #4 R22 Panthers/Storm 610k
8 NRL matches reached 300,000 viewers on Foxtel set top boxes, half of which were Storm matches
- #1 R10 Storm/Panthers 321k
- #2 R1 Tigers/Storm 317k
- #3 R7 Tigers/Souths 313k
- #4 R4 Panthers/Souths 311k
In Sydney, the NRL averaged 157,000 on 9 for the season with R1s Panthers/SeaEagles the top rating fixture for the season at 249,000.
In Brisbane, the NRL averaged 96,000 on Nine with the highest rating game being R19s Eels/Broncos with 167,000 viewers.
In Melbourne, the NRL averaged 14,000 on Nine/Gem through the season with the top rating game being round 22s Panthers/Storm with 60,000. In all the secondary NRL cities, the NRL averaged a combined 29,000 for the season with #1 being the Panthers/Storm in R19 averaging 81,000
The most watched NRL club across all platforms in 2022 was the Brisbane Broncos with 20.52m aggegated viewers at an average of 855,000 per game.
- #2 Souths 17.71m (738k ave)
- #3 Storm 17.7m (737k)
- #4 Panthers 17.37m (724k)
- #5 Eels 17.24m (718k)
Sydney, 16.84, 702000
Manly, 15.86, 661000
Newcastle, 14.07, 586000
Wests Tigers, 13.749, 573000
St George, 13.459, 561000
Cronulla, 13.323, 555000
Nth Qld,12.848, 535000
Canterbury, 12.64, 526000
Gold Coast, 12.477,520000
New Zealand, 9.251, 385000
— sportsindustry (@footyindustryAU) September 12, 2022
In addition to the 118m that watched the home and away season, a further 9.393m watched the State of Origin series in 2022.
- A further 2.619m watched a variety of rep fixtures.
- The preseason was watched by 2.891m viewers on Fox, while the Allstars had an audience of 653k.
- 3 million people watched the early NRLW 2022 season at an average of 200,000 per game.
The combined total ratings for the 2022 NRL year will see an estimated 137.452m viewers across NRL, NRLW, Preseason, Origin and Rep fixtures. This does not count the estimated 5.5m that watched week 1 of the finals.
Excluding the Grand Final, The 2022 NRL Finals series rated a total of 12.796m across Fox and Nine at an average of 1.6m per game.
Nine audiences on broadcast and BVOD totaled 7.9m, while Fox and Kayo combined for another 5.152m viewers.
The 2022 NRL Grand Final had 2.756m viewers and is the second lowest in recent history, narrowly beating the 2019 Grand Final, but had the lowest metro tv viewing audience of all time.
- Nine 2.756m
- Metro 1.671m
- Regional 696,000
- BVOD 389,000
NRL End of Season Estimated TV Ratings and Attendance
- NRL Preseason 2.89m
- NRL H&A Season 118.895
- NRL Finals 15.552m
- Total Season TV 134.447m
- Total Attendace 3.441m
- TV + Attendance 140.779m
- Total TV Viewing hours 206.833m
In early 2023, the NRL released some official data
- Cumulative Telstra Premiership TV, streaming and linear audiences of 132.5 million (up 5%);
- 17% growth in digital audience, including 6.6 million social media followers;
Origin and Representative Matches
Total NRL Rep Season Est TV Ratings and Attendance
- Origin Series 9.393m
- Rep Fixtures 2.619m
- Total Rep TV 12.012m
- Attendance 263,799
- Attendance + TV 12.276m
- Total TV Viewing Hours 18.018m
Total NRL 2022 H&A + Rep Year Est TV Ratings and Attendance
- Total NRL 2022 TV 149.35m
- Total NRL Attendance 3.705m
- TV & Attendance 153.055m
- Total TV Viewing Hours 224.025m
Data does not include NZ.
The 2022 season became the #1 performing season across Foxtel Group platforms. The season achieved an 11% YoY growth in audience and Kayo Sports averaged more than 100 million minutes of NRL streamed weekly.
The match between the Melbourne Storm and the Penrith Panthers (R10) scored the highest viewership of the season and is now the top-rated regular season game with an average audience of 602,000 across both Foxtel and Kayo Sports.
The Magic Round also topped the most-watched regular season round of all time, with an average audience of 473,000.
These are great figures for the NRL, and on the raw numbers its real hard to see why 25 million more viewers doesnt deliver better results at the broadcasting negotiations. 206m viewing hours up against the AFLs 287m viewing hours could play a part.
All data sourced from Oztam – using Total TV, VOZ and consolidated +7 subscription tv data.. Kayo data estimated on trends (see note below). Thanks to @TV_Blackbox, @kevinperry, @MrTVAus, @LeagueUnlimited and others for assistance over the season.
Notes on Kayo estimates
Kayo is estimated on reported early season data trends that put the ratio of Streaming to STB about 0.89. This figure has not been updated since Round 10. As soon as any updated data is available, I will update. Apologies for anyone inconvenienced.
I want to stress here that all this information is publicly available. I am not an expert on matters pertaining to tv. I dont really have super secret connections to hidden data streams. Im just a guy with 14 years of data and spreadsheets and not much of a life.