Sports still king on free-to-air TV

The blockbuster clash between Australia’s two biggest sports codes has given TV networks strong ratings over the long weekend, and once again proved that sports is still the king on free-to-air.

Collingwood’s AFL grand final wins over the Brisbane Lions delivered 2.46 million metro viewers for Seven on Saturday; the figure jumped to 3.85 million when counting regional and BVOD viewers.

L-R: the Collingwood Magpies and the Penrith Panthers. Source: AFL and NRL

Meanwhile, the NRL grand final, with its dramatic last-minute try from Penrith Panthers captain Nathan Cleary to bury the Brisbane Broncos, brought in 1.85 million metro viewers for Nine on Sunday. The number jumped to 3.4 million with regional and BVOD viewers.

Looking back at the top five free-to-air programs so far in 2023, the four Matildas Women’s World Cup matches against England, France, Denmark and Sweden came ahead of the recent AFL grand final.

Before Matildas mania came along, Nine’s coverage of State of Origin Game I in June held the metro ratings crown, with 1.981 million viewers.

Broadcast rights to the most prominent local and international codes have now been locked in until 2027 and beyond, including Australian football, rugby, cricket, tennis and multi-sport events like the Olympics.

In this free-to-air competition, Seven and Nine emerged as clear winners, holding the most ‘tier one’ codes.

In OzTAM’s rating calendar so far this year, Seven Network has won 20 weeks, while Nine Network has won 18 in total people.

Graphs provided by Nine. 


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