2016 AFL TV Ratings

Unless linked most data here is sourced from the 2016 AFL Annual Report


The average gross national audience across free-to-air and subscription television per home and away round was 4.508 million, compared with 4.446 million in 2015, an increase of 1.4 per cent at a time when audiences are fragmenting.

The cumulative gross national audience during the home and away season exceeded 103 million (103,697,176), up from 102.7 million (102,722,355) in 2015 – noting that one extra match was played in 2016 due to the cancelled 2015 Adelaide v Geelong match

The 10 most-watched matches of the 2016 Toyota AFL Premiership Season (national average audiences across free-to-air and subscription television) were:

1. Round 13 – North Melbourne v Hawthorn, 1.387 million
2. Round nine – Hawthorn v Sydney Swans, 1.369 million
3. Round eight – Adelaide v Geelong, 1.329 million
4. Round 10 – Sydney Swans v North Melbourne, 1.315 million
5. Round fve – Hawthorn v Adelaide, 1.301 million
6. Round six – North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs, 1.241 million
7. Round two – Collingwood v Richmond, 1.229 million
8. Round fve – Collingwood v Essendon, 1.225 million (Anzac Day)

9. Round 17 – Sydney Swans v Hawthorn, 1.218 million
10. Round 23 – Adelaide v West Coast, 1.216 million

Foxtel also achieved major ratings highlights on the subscription television platform during 2016, including:

  • National average audience of 543,000 for the preliminary fnal between the GWS Giants and the Western Bulldogs was the highest-rating AFL match of all time on the platform;
  • National average audience of 399,000 for the round 13 clash between North Melbourne and Hawthorn was the highest-rating premiership season match of all time on the platform


The gross cumulative audience for the 2016 Toyota AFL Finals Series was 18,368,305. This marks an increase of 10.7 per cent on the total national viewership for the 2015 Toyota AFL Finals Series (16,588,991) and makes it the highest gross cumulative audience for an AFL Finals Series in AFL/VFL history.

A major highlight of the 2016 Toyota AFL Finals Series was the preliminary fnal between the GWS Giants and the Western Bulldogs, which attracted a national average audience of 2.40 million across free-to-air and subscription television. It was the highest audience for a match since 2008 (excluding Grand Finals) and the second highest in history (behind only the 2.47 million who watched the Geelong v Collingwood preliminary fnal on a Friday night in 2007).

The average audience of 543,000 viewers on subscription television was also the highest-rating AFL match on the platform of all time (noting the AFL Grand Final is not broadcast on subscription television).

The 2016 Toyota AFL Grand Final was the fourth most-watched game in AFL/VFL history with a national average audience (metropolitan and regional) of 4.12 million (4,121,368) on the Seven Network. It was the most watched program of any kind on Australian television in 2016 and had a whopping 16 per cent increase on last year’s Hawthorn v West Coast grand final.

Grand Final

Channel Seven’s Grand Final coverage reached more than 6.5 million combined in-home viewers across the day-long telecast. The siren-to-siren telecast peaked at 5.160 million viewers, which was the highest metropolitan audience for a Grand Final since 2006. In Sydney alone the audience peaked at 705,000.

According to OzTam ratings, 91.2 per cent of people who had their televisions on were tuned into the game.

The preliminary figures don’t include viewers on Telstra’s AFL Live Official App, those watching overseas via Watch AFL and fans in pubs and bars across the nation.

The record remains Sydney’s 1996 grand final loss to North Melbourne at 4.4 million, which narrowly beat their drought-breaking 2005 win over West Coast.

The Swans’ grand final loss to West Coast in 2006 is third at 4.15 million.

Sydney’s 2012 grand final win over Hawthorn and their ’14 loss to the Hawks fill the next two spots.

Special Matches

The 2016 Tradingpost.com E.J. Whitten Legends Game attracted a national average audience of 989,389 across free-to-air and subscription television, which was 30 per cent above the national average audience of the previous three E.J. Whitten Legends Games (757,063). It marked the frst time that the match was broadcast nationally on free-to-air on a Friday night and simulcast on subscription television.

The national average metropolitan free-to-air audience of 600,901 was in line with the national average metropolitan free-to-air audience for Friday night matches during the 2016 Toyota AFL Premiership Season (641,398).

The 2016 AFL Women’s All Stars game between the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne was broadcast live nationally on the Seven Network and attracted a national average audience (metropolitan and regional) of 754,898.

Compared with ratings for Seven Network Saturday night matches in the 2016 Toyota AFL Premiership Season, the Women’s All Stars game was 10 per cent above the national average free-to-air (metropolitan and regional) audience. In addition, the 2016 AFL Women’s All Stars game was three per cent above the national average Melbourne metropolitan free-to-air audience for Friday night AFL matches in 2016 and was the second highest rating women’s sporting event for the year (excluding the Olympic Games), behind only the Australian Open women’s fnal (1.96 million). 


Cumulative streaming minutes of live matches via the AFL Live App of 185 million minutes (up 79 million minutes) and peak concurrent Live Pass subscribers up 100 per cent on 2015;

International Digital Rights revenue via our partner Brave Bison (formerly Rightster International) grew by more than 20 per cent.


A gross audience of 1.086 million people per week listened to AFL matches during the radio survey periods 4-6 in 2016 (these being the three survey periods that fall during the six months of the season). This was slightly down on the gross audience of 1.152 million per week in 2015, due largely to a general downturn in radio audiences in the past year.

Through the AFL Live App and AFL.com.au, the AFL radio broadcast rights holders averaged a unique audience of 54,000 per match-day during the premiership season and 49,000 per match-day during the fnals series.
This represented an annual growth rate of 17 per cent and 26 per cent respectively.