2017 AFL TV Ratings

Unless linked most information here is from the 2017 AFL Annual Report


Total cumulative audience on the Seven Network and Fox Footy Channel of 5,644,093 for AFLW matches.

On February 4th, the AFL reported that the AFL Women’s opening match between Carlton and Collingwood was a ratings hit with nearly a million viewers tuning in. A national TV audience of 896,000, including 593,000 metropolitan free-to-air viewers, 180,000 regional free-to-air viewers and 123,000 on Fox Footy, watched as the Blues won the inaugural AFLW clash in front of a sold-out crowd at Ikon Park.

The Melbourne metropolitan audience of 424,000 is on par with the average Melbourne metropolitan audience for Friday night AFL matches.

On February 12th, it was noted by the league that the AFL Women’s competition had continued to captivate audiences, with Channel 7 recording another strong Saturday night of ratings. The match between Collingwood and Melbourne scored a combined peak audience of 677,000 viewers across the five capital cities it was broadcast live, similar to the previous weeks Saturday night game where there was a peak audience of 498,000 viewers across just four cities.

On February 13th, the Courier-Mail reported that the women’s match between Collingwood and Melbourne was the ninth most watched program nationally on free-to-air on Saturday with 346,000 capital city viewers on Seven, with excellent numbers on Fox Sports where it was the highest rating Saturday show on pay television with 95,000 viewers, just ahead of the other women’s game, Carlton versus GWS, which drew 83,000.

The Sunday was also another big day for women’s AFL with the Brisbane Lions-Fremantle game (80,000 on Fox Sports) finishing narrowly behind the A-League game between Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast which was the number one show on pay television with 82,000.

Those matches finished ahead of the A-League match between Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar which drew 70,000. The Global Tens rugby extravaganza at Suncorp Stadium drew 51,000 Saturday viewers.

The frst year of the competition achieved some major ratings highlights, including:

  • National average audience of 596,067 across Channel Seven and 7mate (New South Wales only) for the Grand Final between Brisbane Lions and Adelaide Crows. On a like-for-like basis, this would have been the highest free-to-air rating Saturday afternoon audience for a Channel Seven-produced match in 2016 (noting that the Channel Seven match on Saturday afternoon was no longer broadcast in 2017).
  • Melbourne metropolitan free-to-air audience of 415,294 on Channel Seven for the opening match between Carlton and Collingwood on a Friday night was 23 per cent higher than the average Melbourne metropolitan free-to-air audience for Friday night matches during the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership Season (337,110).
  • National average audience of 164,268 on Fox Footy for the round two match between Western Bulldogs and Adelaide Crows made it the highest-rating program on subscription television for that weekend (Friday-Sunday).
  • The cumulative gross national audience during the home and away season exceeded fve million(5,049,420), comprised of 3.33 million viewers on free-to-air and 1.71 million viewers on subscription television.

The 2017 NAB AFL Women’s State of Origin match attracted a national average audience of 477,489 across free-to-air and subscription television.


On March 24th, Crikey reported that the AFL’s first game of the first round arrived with a bit of a splash — lots of goals mean lots of ads for Seven — 792,000 viewers nationally on Seven and 7mate. Over on Nine the first game of round 4 of the NRL grabbed 740,000 on Nine and Gem. On Foxtel, the AFL game outrated the NRL game, 269,000 viewers to 241,000. All up that gave the Carlton-Richmond game a total national audience of 1.06 million people, and the NRL game between Souths and Easts a total national audience of 981,000. Seven won the night thanks to the AFL.

On April 11th, the Adelaide Football Club reported that Channel 7 Adelaide’s coverage of the Showdown averaged a colossal 238,000 viewers, peaking at 267,000 viewers in the final quarter as the Crows held on for a memorable victory to square the Showdown ledger at 21-21. The match was the highest rating television program in survey since the 2016 AFL Grand Final presentations (344,000 viewers) and the Western Bulldogs’ premiership win over Sydney (322,000 viewers).

On May 13, Mumbrella reported that Seven’s Friday Night Football featuring the West Coast Eagles versus the Western Bulldogs topped the ratings with 298,000 viewers. A further 103,000 watched in Adelaide, making it the city’s second most watched program of the night after Seven News, despite there being no local club involved. In Perth, where Seven screened the game on secondary channel 7mate, a further 177,000 watched the Eagles hold on for victory, making it the city’s most watched program of the evening.

In Sydney, 27,000 watched the 7Mate coverage while 20,000 watched in Brisbane. The game also aired on Fox Footy, where it pulled in a total of 209,000 metro viewers. Across Seven, 7Mate and Fox Footy, the game drew a metro audience of 836,000. It also pulled in a further 134,000 from Seven’s regional affiliates.

Despite overall television industry ratings (free-to-air and subscription television) being down 8.9 per cent year on year, the average gross national audience across free-to-air and subscription television per home and away round was 4.449 million, compared with 4.508 million in 2016 (a decrease of only 1.3 per cent). It was also the frst year of the new broadcast rights deal, with 11 less matches on free-to-air into Victoria which was further evidence that this was an excellent result.

The cumulative gross national audience during the home and away season exceeded 102 million (102,337,684), slightly down from 103.7 million (103,697,176) in 2016. The 102 million viewers comprised 62.98 million viewers on free-to-air (down 2.5 per cent on 2016) and 39.36 million viewers on subscription television (up 0.7 per cent on 2016).

The 10 most-watched matches of the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership Season (national average audiences across free-to-air and subscription television) were:

1. Round 5 – Essendon v Collingwood, 1.587 million (Anzac Day)
2. Round 22 – Adelaide Crows v Sydney Swans, 1.393 million
3. Round 11 – Geelong Cats v Adelaide Crows, 1.251 million
4. Round 6 – GWS Giants v Western Bulldogs, 1.246 million
5. Round 19 – Hawthorn v Sydney Swans, 1.240 million
6. Round 9 – Geelong Cats v Western Bulldogs, 1.239 million
7. Round 3 – Sydney Swans v Collingwood, 1.239 million
8. Round 10 – Sydney Swans v Hawthorn, 1.197 million
9. Round 14 – Sydney Swans v Essendon, 1.194 million
10. Round 23 – Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs, 1.187 million

Friday night audiences continued to be strongin 2017, with 1,143,699 viewers on average across free-to-air and subscription television watching each week, only slightly down on the 2016 average of 1,149,515.


The gross cumulative audience for the 2017 Toyota AFL Finals Series was 16,904,687. This marks a decrease of 7.9% on the total national viewership for the 2016 Toyota AFL Finals Series (18,368,305), noting that 2016 was the highest gross cumulative audience for a Finals Series in AFL/VFL history, with several close matches.

The 2017 Toyota AFL Grand Final national average audience (metropolitan and regional) of 3,562,254 on the Seven Network was 13.5 per cent down on the 4.12 million who tuned into the 2016 Grand Final between Sydney Swans and Western Bulldogs (the fourth most-watched game in AFL/VFL history).

The combined fve mainland capital city metropolitan audience of 2,714,870 viewers for the 2017 Toyota AFL Grand Final made it the most-watched program on metropolitan free-to-air television in 2017 as well as the highest-rating one-off sports event for the year.

A special snap Roy Morgan SMS survey taken on Sunday shows 8.4 million Australians (44.5%) aged 18+ watched Saturday’s AFL Grand Final and a further 1.8 million (9.5%) watched ‘Just the Highlights’ while 8.7 million Australians (46%) didn’t watch the AFL’s biggest game.

Analysis by State shows Victorians make up the largest share of those watching with 3.3 million Victorians watching the AFL Grand Final nearly twice as many as in New South Wales (1.7 million) and more than three times as many as in Western Australia (1.1 million), Queensland (1.0 million) or South Australia (850,000):

Special Matches

In its second year as part of the Celebration of Football weekend, the 2017 Chemist Warehouse E.J. Whitten Legends Game attracted a national average audience of 837,459 across free-to-air and subscription
television, 15 per cent below the national average audience of the E.J. Whitten Legends Game in 2016.

However, the match was 10 per cent above the national average audience of the three E.J. Whitten Legends Games from 2013-15 (noting that those matches were not simulcast on subscription television and were not
broadcast nationally on free-to-air on a Friday night).

The national average Melbourne metropolitan free-to-air audience of 345,000 was three per cent above the national average Melbourne metropolitan free-to-air audience for Friday night matches during the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership Season (335,000).


Streaming of live matches through the app grew by 115 per cent to more than 400 million minutes – that’s more than 760 years of AFL football viewed on mobile devices in 2017. This extraordinary result was built on the foundation of more than one million AFL Live Pass subscribers, a year-on-year increase of 334 per cent. Overseas, expat AFL fans drove a 58 per cent increase in international live pass subscriptions via our new partner Fox Sports which replaced Brave Bison