Opening weekend of A-League Finals fails to find a big audience, as AFL and NRL experience ratings lull

Melbourne Victory beat Wellington Phoenix
image - News Corp

In another crowded weekend of sport, the first round of A-league finals failed to generate much hype. The AFL had its lowest tv viewership for the season, and the NRL their second lowest.

On the other hand, Supercar racing under lights had a good result for its Friday night racing on Foxtel - rating 131,000 - and this may have slightly impacted the results from other sports.

Friday nights AFL game between Port Adelaide and Collingwood was the most watched game on free to air television with 739,000 viewers – narrowly beating Thursday nights NRL match between South Sydney and Brisbane which reeled in 710,000.

Friday nights NRL game between the Sharks/Storm takes home the chocolates for highest rating Foxtel game of the weekend with 268,000 viewers, as Foxtel ratings continue to be dominated by the NRL – on average 30% higher than AFL fox games.

Likewise, the NRL dominates streaming on Fox with 5 NRL matches making into the Oztam top 10 for the week, while the AFL missed out. We should note that this doesn’t include Kayo or Telstra apps.

Australian Football

In Round 7, the AFL had its lowest viewing week of the year with 3.7 million viewers switching on – the first time this year that the total viewers have dipped below 4 million for the round.

Seven released a video on Twitter earlier in the week where Head of Network Sport, Saul Shtein, stated that total season ratings were up 16% year on year.

With Thursday nights finished for a few weeks, Friday nights Collingwood v Port Adelaide game was the biggest draw with 957,000 viewers watching across the Seven Network and Foxtel.

On Free to air television, the Friday night Pies/Power clash was by far the biggest draw with 739,000 turning their attention to Seven, 7mate and regional affiliates, while Sundays Geelong v Essendon clash saw the highest Melbourne audience for a Sunday game this season as 281,000 took in the game from the comfort of their own homes.

On Foxtel, Friday night also reigned supreme with 218,000 watching Fox Footy, while the Giants/Saints game managed the lowest Foxtel rating this season (although not a record), as only 50,000 people made the choice to switch over to Fox Sports 3.

AFL fox ratings are up 7% on last year, but remain down 7% on the 2017 mark, so plenty of improvement is needed to make up the lost ground last year.

The AFL failed to make an impact on OzTAMs VPM charts this week.

In state football, the VFL attracted 49,000 on Sunday, while Saturdays SANFL and WAFL were watched by 28,000 and 21,000 each in their respective state capitals.

Data copyright Oztam/Regtam

Data copyright Oztam/Regtam

Rugby League

In Round 8, the NRL had its second-lowest viewing week – just beating round 5 – with 3.69 million viewers watching the NRL on television.

 On Twitter on April 30th, NRL Chairman Peter Beattie noted that;

“In comparison to this time last season, total free-to-air television audiences have increased by more than 4%, national total subscription viewership have increased by 3%,”.

Thursday nights Souths v Broncos game at ANZ Stadium was the biggest draw for the NRL with 968,000 people tuning in across the Nine Network and Fox League.

On Free to Air Television, Thursday night got top billing with the Rabbitohs/Broncos clash attracting 710,000 people across Nine and GEM.

On Fox League, Friday night emerged on top with 268,000 folks watch the Sharks/Storm on Fox League, while Sunday night continued its strong ratings with 261,000.

Data copyright Oztam/Regtam

Data copyright Oztam/Regtam

Data copyright Oztam/Regtam

Data copyright Oztam/Regtam

NRL matches dominated the VPM ratings for sport this weekend with 19,000 watching the Sea-Eagles/Dogs and Roosters/Tigers clashes on Fox. Channel 9 reported 2.5 million live streams across the weekend on 9now (up 128% on the same round last year).

In state league, the Canterbury Cup attracted 13,000 viewers, and the Intrust Super Cup was watched by 9,000 in Sydney and Brisbane respectively, as their Sunday ratings continue to take a battering after being shunted to GEM last week for the start of the Super Netball Season.


During the week David Gallop said that the FFA hoped for a big finals series to make the competition more palatable to the market when its rights are up for grabs next season. Unfortunately it was not to be.

The first week of the 2019 of the A-League finals didn’t make a huge impact on the local Television scene with Melbourne Victory vs Wellington Phoenix managing to get 31,000 viewers on 10 Bold and just 22,000 on Foxtel. Sundays Adelaide v Melbourne City match fared better with 56,0000 on 10 Bold and 51,000 on Foxtel, while 80,000 tuned in to watch the extra time on 10 Bold.

Saturdays EPL Coverage on SBS rated 77,000 in the 5 cities.

Rugby Union

In Round 12 of the Super Rugby, there were 4 matches which featured Australia sides, with Fridays Reds/Sunwolves clash topping the bill with 63,000 viewers, while on Saturday the Brumbies had 55,000 people switched on for their match against the Blues.

Sunday mornings Super Rugby replay was watched by a metro audience of 16,000, while the Shute Shield had 10,000 folks tune in to 7Two in Sydney.


Super Netball

Round 2 of the Super Netball saw two matches broadcast on Nine across Australia with the Firebirds/Magpies clash attracting 85,000 metro viewers on Nine, while Fever and Lighting was viewed by 76,000 viewers in the 5 capital cities.