A-League Grand Final disappoints and AFL ratings decline as Federal Election dominates weekend

image - SBS

On a weekend where ratings were heavily affected by the Federal Election, the AFL recorded its lowest ratings since the Royal Wedding last year (which was at the same time and had a similar affect on ratings), while Super Netball and Rugby Union took a small hit from the national decider.

The NRL again proved to be resilient in the face of special events coverage, with its ratings within the same ballpark as last year and in 2017.

The top rating fixture over the weekend was Friday nights AFL game between West Coast and Melbourne which rated in over a million viewers, and became the AFLs tenth game of the year to reach 7 figures in total. The game was also the highest rating on Free to air television with 771,000 viewers across the country on 7 and 7mate.

It was the NRL which took home the prize for top Foxtel billing with Fridays Broncos/Roosters game drawing in 292,000 viewers. Both Friday games, as well as Sunday night rated higher than any AFL match over the weekend.

Rugby League

The NRL was probably least affected by the Election coverage with 3.67 million people watching on Nine, GEM and Fox League. This is in line with ratings during the Wedding last year and in 2017 (when no special events were held).

1.78 million people watched on the Nine network, including 1.09 million metro viewers and 690,000 in regional areas. The highest rating Free to air game was Fridays Broncos/Rosters match which attracted 649,000 viewers to the action live from Suncorp Stadium.

1.88 million people tuned into Fox League as it continues to dominate Foxtel live ratings, with Friday nights Broncos/Roosters clash top scoring with 292,000 viewers.

The NRL continues to shine in the streaming department with Nine reporting 2.6 million minutes streamed on 9now, a figure which is up 157% on the same round last year. Four matches from round 10 made it into the Oztam top 10 Live VPM rankings, with Saturdays Raiders/Rabbitohs finishing on top with 22,000 viewers reported (and streaming minutes of 2.3 million).

For those who follow the state competitions, 10,000 metro viewers turned to GEM to see the Canterbury Cup in Sydney, while 11,000 Brisbane folks watched the Intrust Cup.


The AFL took a big hit to the ratings this weekend, although not unexpected after last year’s Wedding results were similarly affected, as Seven moved its entire Saturday coverage to 7mate. 2.996 million people watched the round in total, the lowest for the season by a considerable margin.

1.750 million people watched the AFL on Seven or 7mate across the country with 1.29 million watching in the 5 capital cities, and 453,000 watching in the regions. The highest rating AFL game of the week was easily Friday nights Eagles/Demons game which rated over a million viewers.        

1.246 million people tuned into Foxtel including 919,000 on Fox Footy and 327,000 elsewhere on Foxtel. Here the Friday night game was also supreme with 244,000 viewers watching the action from Optus Stadium.

The AFL made no appearance on the Oztam VPM ratings this week, with Game of Thrones and Rugby league dominating the Live VPM rankings.

For those interested in the state competitions, the VFL was viewed by 41,000 people on 7 on Sunday. The SANFL rated 29,000 on 7 on Saturday afternoon, while the WAFL took in 16,000 viewers on 7mate on Sunday.


The NRL takes the chocolates home for the second week in a row on total ratings for the round, including a rare – if narrow - victory on the Free to air tv ratings for the round. The AFL maintains a small lead overall, while the NRL continues to lead the match average ratings.

The A-League Grand Final

The 2019 A-league Grand Final between Perth and Sydney was viewed by 215,000 folks in the metro regions, while 137,000 people tuned in on Fox. This number topped out at 324,000 metro/191,000 Fox for the penalty phase at the matches conclusion.

This is something of a decrease on recent years, the 2016-17 decider was watched by an average audience of 254,000 metro viewers and 460,000 on Fox.

Super Netball

The Super Netball had some mixed fortunes over the weekend with the Saturday game between the Swifts and Lighting attracting a season low 57,000 metro viewers – this was presumably election influenced, as the Sunday game was back up to 85,000 for the Firebirds/Giants.

Rugby Union

Super Rugby games wasn’t too bad over the weekend with 49,000 tuning in for the Reds/Waratahs clash on Saturday night – again probably affected by Election coverage – and then a further 19,000 watched the replay on 10 bold in the morning. 45,000 viewers tuned in Friday night to see the Rebels take on the Bulls.

Lovers of the Shute Shield will be delighted to learn that 12,000 tuned in to see the action between Gordon and Eastwood on 7two on Saturday.