AFL and NRL reveal strong ratings on opening weekends, attracting strong sponsor line-ups
Sydney, Monday 25 March 2019: Australia’s top football codes are going from strength to strength on subscription TV, with Multi-Channel Network today revealing significant audience uplift for the Australian Football League (AFL), and the National Rugby League (NRL)’s opening round, and a solid line up of sponsors for each code.
The NRL has a starting line-up of 22 sponsors, including Bundaberg Rum, Ford, KFC, McDonalds, TAB and Youi Insurance, while 20 of the top brands in Australia have stepped up to support the AFL, including Bunnings, Holden, Mazda, and Sportsbet.
The brands backing the footy on STV are appearing in front of record audiences, with this weekend’s AFL Round One audiences up 17% compared to the same round in 2018, according to the latest ratings statistics collected by Oztam.
This follows the record NRL opener on Thursday 14 March, with an average audience of 338,000 tuning into to watch the Storm take on the Broncos – which was the highest ever rating Thursday night game on FOX LEAGUE, up 29% on last year’s season opener.
MCN CEO, Mark Frain, commented: “It’s been a great start for both the footy and the league, with the Foxtel platform continuing to build momentum following a breakthrough Summer of Cricket. We’re seeing a halo effect across all channels due to the interest generated by FOX SPORTS’ unparalleled coverage across different sports codes. As a result, we are seeing STV outperform Free To Air in terms of audience growth in 2019, which is just the beginning of a strong year ahead for STV.
“Foxtel’s investment into sport like the Rugby World Cup and much anticipated winter programming like Game Of Thrones, coupled with MCN’s legacy in innovative integration solutions, will mean brands have access to the widest range of advertising opportunities in 2019.”
Head of FOX SPORTS, Peter Campbell, said: “The opening rounds of AFL and NRL have seen strong audiences watching FOX FOOTY and FOX LEAGUE on Foxtel and we are buoyed by the fact these numbers don’t include consumers streaming their content on Foxtel Go or services like Foxtel Now and our new standalone sports streaming service Kayo Sports.”
For the AFL, key games ratings include:
- Collingwood v Geelong (Friday night): 311,000 average audience, up 21% on 2018 Friday night regular season and up 14% on round one last year
- Adelaide v Hawthorn (Saturday twilight): 241,000 average audience, up 12% on 2018 timeslot average and up 9% on Round one in 2018
- Brisbane v West Coast (On channel 503) - Sat night – 102,000 average audience, up 11% on 2018 regular season timeslot average and up 32% on the 2018 Round One game
For the NRL: key games ratings include:
- The final game of the Round One, Titans vs Raiders on the 17 March delivered 241,710 viewers, up 11% on last year’s Round One finisher
- Round two Raiders vs Storm on Friday, 22 March delivered a 7.7% audience uplift
MCN Foxtel Sales and Brand Partnerships Director, Martin Medcraf, added: “These codes are at the heart of Australian culture, and this year we are innovating how brands support the AFL and NRL across the Foxtel platform, including through our digital audiences on Kayo. At the heart of this offering are new forms of integration, and a dedication to enhancing the viewer experience. As a result, we are seeing rising audiences, more engaged footy fans, and more effective campaign opportunities.”