This weekends A-League Grand Final looks set to be a ratings disaster for the code after a decision from free-to-air broadcaster ABC to relegate coverage of the match to a low ranking multichannel.
Free-To-Air coverage of the 2020 A-League Grand Final will be broadcast this Sunday night at 8:25pm on secondary multichannel ABCME. The match will be shown on a two-hour delay in eastern states and will not be available in High Definition.
The ABC’s agreement with host broadcaster Fox Sports prevents it from airing any matches from the A-League finals series live.
The move to screen the finals series on ABCME means the coverage is unlikely to attract many casual observers of the code.
The 2019 Grand Final between Perth Glory and Sydney FC attracted a free-to-air audience of 215k on 10Bold and a pay-tv audience of 191k. Figures which appear highly unlikely to be matched in 2020.
Since the resumption of the A-League competition after the COVID shutdown, matches have been averaging 24k on Fox Sports. An average which is down 33% on the pre-COVID season when games were averaging 36K.
Last Sunday’s elimination final between Western United v Brisbane Roar averaged 49k on Fox Sports. That figure included 32k on Foxtel and 17k on streaming platforms Foxtel Now/Go and Kayo. The game was the highest rating A-League match on Fox Sports since February.
Disappointingly however, data obtained by TV Blackbox reveals a preliminary figure of just 8k watched the delayed free-to-air coverage of the elimination final on ABCME. The match averaged 2k in Sydney, and 4k in Melbourne. Coverage of the game recorded a zero in Perth.
The Wellington Phoenix vs Perth Glory elimination final had an average audience of 31k on Fox Sports. A figure which included a streaming audience of 10k via Foxtel Now/Go and Kayo.
Participants for this years A-League Grand Final will be determined by two semi-final matches to played tonight with Melbourne City FC vs Western United FC to be played at 5pm AEST, while Sydney FC will face Perth Glory at. 8:10pm AEST.
Both semi-finals will be broadcast LIVE tonight by Fox Sports, while delayed coverage of the Melbourne City FC vs Western United match will be available on ABCME at 8:25pm
A spokesperson for ABC explained the broadcaster’s decision to move coverage of A-League finals to the multichannel telling TV Blackbox;
“It guarantees that we can broadcast the (Wednesday) semi-final and the Grand Final on Sunday at a reasonable time and also at a consistent time – with both starting at 8.25pm.”
“Under our contract, both matches are on a minimum two-hour delay.”
Free-To-Air coverage of the A-League moved to ABC this season after the 10 Network opted not to renew its agreement to broadcast the tournament.