NRL grand final helps Nine dominate Sunday viewing – but ratings no match for AFL

Melbourne Storm celebrate

The NRL grand final that saw Melbourne Storm beat Canterbury Bulldogs helped Nine to ratings domination yesterday.

The network’s coverage of the grand final drew 2.401m, although the post-match presentation pulled in more – 2.424m – and won the night.

With 60 Minutes rating with 1.444m, the NRL pre-match entertainment rating 1.297m and Nine News attracting 1.212m, the network boasted Sunday’s top five most-watched shows.

However, Nine’s NRL ratings – which were the biggest five-city metro NRL ratings since 2006 – were no match for the AFL grand final on Saturday. The match between Hawthorn and Sydney Swans rated 3.196m, with 1.406m Melburnians tuning in to watch on Seven.

Seven was the only other network with a show with over 1m viewers last night, with Seven News rating with 1.150m, according to OzTam data.

A repeat of Modern Family was Ten’s most popular show, pulling in 539,000 and ranking 16th for the night.

Ten managed just 8.1% audience share and was comfortably beaten by ABC1’s 14.4%. Nine easily won the night with 34.2% share, ahead of Seven’s 18.3%.

Sunday’s top 15 shows:

2 RUGBY LEAGUE GRAND FINAL – Nine – 2,401,000
3 60 MINUTES – Nine – 1,444,000
5 NINE NEWS SUNDAY – Nine – 1,212,000
6 SEVEN NEWS – SUN – Seven – 1,150,000
7 HOUSE HUSBANDS – Nine – 1,133,000
8 SUNDAY NIGHT – Seven – 988,000
9 CALL THE MIDWIFE-EV – ABC1 – 983,000
10 BORDER SECURITY – Seven – 971,000
11 AIR WAYS – Seven – 903,000
13 THE MENTALIST – Nine – 665,000
14 ABC NEWS-SU – ABC1 – 641,000
15 STRIKE BACK-EP.2 – Seven – 541,000


  1. Viewer
    1 Oct 12
    11:36 am

  2. The biggest disappointment for viewers was the fact that neither the NRL or AFL grand finals was broadcast in HD. Harvey Norman and other goods stores as part of their flatscreen HD TVs sales pitch claimed that you can watch your sporting grand finals in HD. Nine and Seven for what ever reason, despite having additional digital channels at their disposal, did not broadcast in HD.

  3. Martin Walsh
    1 Oct 12
    12:49 pm

  4. @Viewer I know, I said the same thing on Twitter on Saturday…. – @afl It’s year 2012, we have the biggest sporting event in Australia on today but we cannot watch AFL Grand Final LIVE in HD. Unbelievable! – Sports, mktg & broadcasting excellence in Australia, @AFL GF=no live HD, shocking TVCs from advertisers, no innovative 2nd screen experience

  5. The Boss
    1 Oct 12
    1:10 pm

  6. That’s because NRL is no match for AFL. It’s Australia’s game.

  7. mmm
    1 Oct 12
    3:24 pm

  8. if there were 2 old school sydney teams in teh finals the ratings would have been higher.

  9. Darcy
    1 Oct 12
    4:24 pm

  10. I wonder which Grand Final earns the most TV advertising revenue?

  11. WD
    2 Oct 12
    9:24 am

  12. So another 20,000 people turn on to watch the presentation over the actual game? That sounds strange. I would’ve thought Bulldog supporters would’ve switched off in their droves.

  13. Old Hand
    2 Oct 12
    9:57 am

  14. Not a fair comparison. You need to include the massive, NRL regional audiences of NSW and QLD. AFL doesn’t have much of that, given the small regional populations of AFL-centric states.

    @The Boss – Australia’s game? Bit of a stretch.

  15. Andrew
    2 Oct 12
    11:48 am

  16. Would have thought a decent number of Sydney-siders would have watched the AFL (because of the Swans) but almost no one in Melbourne would have watched the NRL, even with the Storm playing…..

  17. Singo
    2 Oct 12
    12:06 pm

  18. Old Hand,

    Here’s your regional audiences

    NRL: 1,316,000
    AFL: 1,152,000

    Now let’s lob these into the Metro Figures:

    NRL: 3,717,000
    AFL: 4,089,079

    Take into account that AFL is daytime viewing vs. NRL that runs from Fringe into Peak dayparts I’d say that AFL truly is Australia’s Greatest Game (and Cricket too!)

  19. Rohan
    2 Oct 12
    12:07 pm

  20. @WD It’ll be because after the Storm won everyone in Victoria would have watched the wrap up for the highlights.

  21. John Grono
    2 Oct 12
    1:00 pm

  22. Fair point Old Hand. In the Regional areas the GF was NRL 1.281m and the AFL was 0.865m. So, combined AFL was 3.802m and NRL was 3.682m.

    But have you also considered the more favourable NRL timeslot?

    In the Metro markets AFL got a 75.5% share, while NRL got a 52.8% share. In the regional markets AFL got a 55.4% share while NRL got a 50.6% share.

    Given this data, Australian sports fans have spoken. If AFL is not Australia’s (football) game … then what is?

  23. Old Hand
    2 Oct 12
    5:26 pm

  24. OK Singo and John Grono. I eat my words. But I’d be very surprised if a non-Sydney Swans grand final would perform anywhere near as well. Anyone know? 2010 or 11 figures?

    Excuse time. Factor the administrative ineptitude of NRL, and the AFL’s massive war chest via media rights deals and its perhaps no wonder. But NRL with its recent $1.2bil media win might regain a bit of lost ground of aerial ping-pong. Still can’t watch that game.

  25. John Grono
    2 Oct 12
    11:29 pm

  26. 2010

    AFL Grand Final #1
    Metro 2.768m (71.6% share)
    Regional 0.781m (51.6% share)
    Total 3.549m

    AFL Grand Final Replay
    Metro 2.687m (67.5% share)
    Regional 0.770m (49.7% share)
    Total 3.457m

    NRL Grand Final
    Metro 2.169m (46.8% share)
    Regional 1.154m (49.2% share)
    Total 3.323m


    AFL Grand Final
    Metro 2.641m (66.4% share)
    Regional 0.789m (50.0% share)
    Total 3.430m

    NRL Grand Final
    Metro 2.172m (46.5% share)
    Regional 1.200m (47.5% share)
    Total 3.372m

    So, while the gross audiences are similar and slightly in AFL’s favour, the audience shares tell the story, with NRL getting just under a 50% share in both Metro and Regional, but AFL getting slightly regional shares but massively higher metro shares.