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Foxtel Media bullish about AFL 2021 season following Round 1

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Ahead of tonight’s AFL Round 2 Carlton vs Collingwood blockbuster, Foxtel Media released viewing details for Round One, which saw an average audience across Foxtel platforms and Kayo of 238,000, broadly in line with 2020 and up 6% on 2019.

Fox Footy (image – Foxtel)

Tonight, along with 75,000 fans at the MCG, Fox Footy’s coverage will be hosted from the desk in the stands by Garry Lyon, Jonathan Brown and Nick Riewoldt. They’ll be joined on the boundary by Kath Loughnan and Fox Footy newshound Tom Morris who’ll keep track of all the stories through the night.

Foxtel Media Director of Sport Sales Martin Medcraf said:

“In 2020, we saw extraordinary audience growth, particularly in AFL, reflecting a year like no other.  This included crowd lockouts, people under curfew in their homes, national and state lockdowns, shorter game time, the footy frenzy and the shift in the AFL’s center of gravity to Queensland.

“With crowds back to 75% capacity in Victoria from this week, normal game time, borders open and the COVID vaccine rollout underway, this year feels much more like 2019.   Notwithstanding the growth we have seen in sports subscribers, particularly at Kayo which last week experienced one of the best weeks of subscriber growth in its history, we believe 2019 is the most meaningful comparison for 2021 season audiences. 

“As the exclusive live streaming partner of the AFL, the Foxtel Group, including Foxtel, Foxtel GO, Foxtel Now and Kayo, is now the only place you can watch live, every game of every round on any screen or device. Nobody else in Australia can lay claim to live AFL anywhere, anytime, any screen. The television set is only the beginning of the live AFL journey for the Foxtel Group.

“And the action on the field after Round 1 is even faster, more athletic, and higher scoring than ever before with the adoption of the AFL’s new rules. I’m sure Round 2 and beyond is going to continue this great trend.

“So, the signs are good for viewing growth, and we are bullish about the year and what AFL can deliver to our clients.   These include returning sponsors such as Toyota, KFC, Sportsbet, McDonald’s, Harvey Norman, 4 Pines, Pointsbet, Drummond Golf, Ashley & Martin, Steel Blue, Chemist Warehouse. And we have new sponsors such as BHP (AFLW), PlayStation (AFLW/Pre-Season), Hungry Jacks, Ampol, La Trobe Financial and AAMI. 

“We’re working with each of them to build their brands with new and innovative experiences for footy fans whether they’re watching at home or on the move,”

Last Thursday’s Richmond v Carlton season opener, which saw an average audience of 365,000, was the second-best average audience for a season opener in subscription television history.  Other Round One highlights included:

  • Adelaide v Geelong was the number two game of the round with an average audience of 335,000 and the highest rating clash for this fixture since 2016.
  • Saturday night’s Essendon v Hawthorn and Brisbane v Sydney games had a cumulative audience of 365,000, up 15% on the cumulative audience of Round 1 Saturday night in 2019 (Bulldogs v Sydney and Brisbane v West Coast) and up 46% on Round 1 Saturday night last year (GWS v Geelong and Gold Coast v Port Adelaide).
  • Sunday night’s West Coast v Gold Coast game had an average audience of 239,000, up 18% on 2019 Round 1 Sunday night average (Fremantle v North Melbourne) and up 9% on last year (West Coast v Melbourne).
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