RATINGS WRAP | ASHES deciding Test dominates hectic weekend of Sport

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It was another big sporting weekend with the first week of the AFL finals, an Ashes deciding test, the last round of the NRL home and away season, a Super Netball preliminary final, plus the Italian Grand Prix.

The highest rating sporting broadcast of the weekend was the first session of day 5 of the Ashes Fourth test which reached 1.112 million viewers across the Nine Network.

The highest rating Foxtel broadcast of the weekend was Friday nights AFL game between Geelong and Collingwood with 335,000 viewers.


The AFL played its qualifying and elimination finals over the weekend, with 4.9 million viewers turning in – a figure hit sharply by an Ashes series that was being decided at the same time – resulting in a 17% decrease on last year’s week one finals.

The highest rating AFL game of the weekend was Friday nights Geelong v Collingwood with 1.43 million viewers across the Seven Network and Foxtel. The game was also the highest rating on Foxtel where it rated 335,000 and on Seven where it rated 1.103 million.

In Brisbane, a record 124,000 viewers tuned in to watch the Lions take on the Tigers at the Gabba, their highest local TV audience since the 2009 Finals series.

Kayo released some data last Monday which revealed that AFL fans are watching an average of 3.5 hours each week, with some regular-season games reaching over 100,000 users including the West Coast v Richmond clash on 18 August watched by 130,000 users.

On Saturday, the VFL was watched by 61,000 in Melbourne, while in Adelaide the two SANFL finals were watched by 48,000 and 66,000. In Perth, the WAFL was watched by 31,000. 

On Sunday, the VFL final was watched by 53,000 in Melbourne and the WAFL by 47,000 in Perth.


The final round of the NRL home and away season was watched by 3.52 million viewers – like the AFL; the last few rounds have been heavily impacted by the Ashes.  

NRL total ratings for the home and away season finished at 88.2 m total at an average of 459,000, this figure is down 6.4% on last season, with some of this no doubt attributable to the late-season cricket interruptions, as well as the widespread take-up of streaming services such as Kayo.

The highest rating game of the round was Thursday nights Souths v Sydney clash at ANZ Stadium which attracted 771,000 viewers to Nine and Fox League across the country. It was also the most-watched on free to air television with 563,000 viewers.

The most-watched game on Fox league was Sundays Tigers v Sharks match which caused 288,000 people to set their remotes to Foxtel.

3 games made it to Oztams VPM top 10 list, with the Bulldogs match against Brisbane finishing 4th behind 3 Ashes broadcasts with 21,000.

Nine reports that 3.3 million minutes of live matches were streamed on 9 NOW with the average VPM up 48% on the same round in 2018.

Kayo data released last week reveals fans were also watching an average of 3.5 hours each week, with some regular season games reaching nearly 70,000 users.

In state leagues it was the first week of finals with 18,000 watching the Canterbury Cup in Sydney and 11,000 watching the Intrust Cup in Brisbane.

The Ashes

The Ashes was a massive part of the weekend, taking viewers from both the AFL and NRL, as it continues to be a big hit for the Nine network.

Nine reports that 6.3 million viewers tuned into Nine and GEM 

across the 5 days of the fourth test from Old Trafford.

The highest rating session of the Fourth Test was Session One on Day Five with an average national audience of 1.112 million viewers. It was also the highest rating session of the 2019 Ashes series to date.

A total of 55 million minutes of live cricket was streamed on 9 NOW. The Ashes averaged 32,000 across the five days, with the 5th day reaching 48,000, again the highest rating of this year’s Ashes series.

Super Netball

The Super Netball preliminary final rated a season high 133,000 viewers in the five city metro areas, with both Sydney and Melbourne recording their highest viewing of the season.


With the World Cup soon to begin, 77,000 viewers tuned into Fox to see Australia take on Samoa on Saturday, while 39,000 switched on to see New Zealand play Tonga. 

The Rugby World Cup will be shown on Foxsports and Ten from 20 September.

Formula 1

Sundays Italian Grand Prix rated 86,000 on Foxtel. The pay-tv broadcaster averages 126,000 this year for its Formula 1 races.


Kayo released its first data on the streaming service, stated that, since Kayo’s launch on November 2018, subscriber numbers had grown to 382,000 as of 30 June, of which 331,000 were paying. 

Time spent on Kayo reached approximately 8.5 hours of weekly user viewing in June driven by the Cricket World Cup with the average customer watching 6 of the 50 different sports available on Kayo each week.

TV Rights

SBS has picked up the FTA rights to both the NBA and WNBA for the next two years. SBS will live broadcast 2 NBA games and 1 WNBA game per week in HD on SBS Viceland and these will also be streamed live on SBS on demand. 

Additional NBA content will be found on the SBS Sport website.

Channel 7 have at the last minute taken on the FTA rights to the NFL. Under the new agreement, Seven will broadcast two live games each week during the regular season and the NFL playoffs on 7mate, and will also broadcast the Super Bowl live on Channel 7.

The new agreement includes expanded digital rights for 7plus that will include simulcasting Seven’s NFL broadcasts.

The Australian reports that Ten are interested in bidding for the NRL rights as the NRL reaches the midpoint of its current deal.

Data Notes

All data is copyright to Oztam and does not include Kayo, Foxtel Now, or mobile viewing unless specified.