First State of Origin game for 2020 brings in lowest metro audience since 2001

The first game of the 2020 State of Origin series has brought in the lowest metro audience since 2001, delivering 1.598m and 2.378m nationally. The match, which saw the Queensland Maroon’s win for a 1-0 lead in the series, aired from 7pm EST on Wednesday night.

2019’s first match drew 2.178m metro, while 2018’s clash brought in 2.321m. This is the first time the game has been played so late in the calendar year and the first to be played outside the traditional NRL season, due to lockdowns and restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

All states are now allowing patrons to attend pubs and clubs, which meant the sport was unlikely to receive the boost the AFL did from the Melbourne lockdown. However, the lack of live sport in 2020 has seen a number of sporting events draw higher audiences than typical years. The sporting event also ran against the US Election which was being covered across other channels.

The match fell 31.2% YOY in Brisbane and 23.3% in Sydney. It drew 513,000 and 727,000 viewers respectively in each city. In 2019, 950,000 viewers watched in Sydney and 746,000 in Brisbane.

In 2019 game one was the most-watched game of the three-part series. 2019’s series did include a Sunday game, while 2020 will only be Wednesday games.

The match still dominated the key advertising demographics of 16-39s, 18-49s and 25-54s and was the most-watched of the night in both metro and national viewership. The pre-match coverage drew 749,000 metro viewers while the post-match delivered 486,000.

Elsewhere on Wednesday night, Ten’s The Bachelorette brought in 470,000 metro viewers and the ABC’s US election coverage at 7pm delivered 641,000. Gruen brought in 601,000.

Nine completely dominate the network share for the night, holding a commanding 31.0% channel share above ABC’s 13.7%, Seven’s 12.1% and Ten’s 8.6%. As a network, Nine held 37.6% while ABC secured 23.6% and Seven 18.5%. Ten held a network share of 13.5%.

The most-watched multi-channel was 7TWO with 3.5%.


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