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AFL Grand Final Caps Off Season Of Broadcast Growth

T
he 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final on Saturday between Richmond and Geelong has recorded a 30% increase in viewership compared to the 2019 edition.

The match recorded a national average TV audience of 3.8 million, along with a peak audience of 4.2 million, making it the highest average audience since the 2016 Grand Final, and up 8.5% over the last five years.

Notably, the Melbourne and Brisbane audiences saw the largest growth, with the Melbourne average audience reaching 1.58 million, the highest ever Melbourne audience for an AFL Grand Final, up 50% on the 2019 counterpart.

The Brisbane audience was up 22% on the 2019 AFL Grand Final, with an average audience of 383,000, marking the highest Brisbane audience in the last 15 years, and the highest ever audience for a non-Brisbane Lions Grand Final.

A large factor in the Melbourne rise in viewership was the COVID-19 restrictions put in place around gatherings between households, which was prohibited and meant fans in Melbourne were all forced to watch the event in their own homes, opposed to multiple households gathering for a ‘watch party’.

AFL CEO, Gillon McLachlan, said the AFL’s free-to-air broadcast partners, Seven Network, delivered a historic Grand Final broadcast from the Gabba in Brisbane.

“On behalf of the AFL I want to thank our host broadcaster Channel Seven for not only their broadcast of the historic night Grand Final at the Gabba, but for their team’s commitment to the event and the exciting content delivery in the lead in and post-match,” McLachlan said.

“All our broadcaster partners, Channel Seven, Foxtel, Telstra as well as our radio partners have gone above and beyond this season.

“Everything we knew previously changed, and their ability to adapt quickly and creatively has provided fans with access to great coverage of our game and helped to deliver one of our strongest years of ratings nationally.

“To all our loyal fans who tuned in across the season I hope the footy was able to provide you with some comfort and a break from the challenging circumstances the year has thrown up.

“Your loyalty and devotion to your clubs showed why you are the best fans in all of sports,” he said.

Over the course of the entire 2020 AFL season, the AFL reported more than 77 million viewers tuning into the Premiership Season and more than 12 million viewers for the first three weeks of the AFL Finals Series.