NRL and AFL Grand Finals set new ratings records
In a weekend where the two rival footy codes celebrated the best teams in their comps, both games saw a significant rise in viewership compared to last year, with the AFL Grand Final attracting an average of 3.75 million viewers and the NRL Grand Final drawing an average of 3.52 million viewers. Last year, the average audiences for the AFL and NRL Grand Finals were 3.06 million and 2.76 million respectively.
According to OzTAM, the NRL Grand Final between the Penrith Panthers and the Brisbane Broncos drew a national average audience of 2.9 million on television and 605,000 on streaming, for a total of 3.52 million. This was a 28% increase from the 2022 decider and the highest live-streaming audience for an AFL or NRL Grand Final ever.
The match was a thrilling contest that saw Penrith come back from a 16-point deficit in the second half, winning 26-24 with a late try by Nathan Cleary. The victory gave Penrith their third consecutive premiership and the biggest comeback in NRL Grand Final history.
The NRL Grand Final was preceded by two other finals on Nine, both played at the Accor stadium on a hot day. The State Cup Championship Grand Final, which featured Brisbane Tigers and Rabbitohs, had 232,000 viewers, while the NRLW Grand Final, which featured Newcastle Knights and Gold Coast Titans, had 414,000 viewers. The Rabbitohs and the Knights both won their respective matches, with the Knights securing their second NRLW title.
The AFL Grand Final between the Collingwood Magpies and the Brisbane Lions attracted an average of close to 3.4 million viewers on Channel Seven, as well as 441,000 on 7Plus. This was a 22% increase from last year’s grand final and a record audience for an AFL match on a streaming platform.
The match was a close and tense affair that saw Collingwood edge out Brisbane by four points, 90-86. The win gave Collingwood their 16th premiership and their first since 2010.
The AFL Grand Final was also watched by 100,000 fans at the MCG, who enjoyed a spectacular pre-game show by rock legends KISS.
Both Grand Finals were highly successful events that showcased the best of Australian sport and culture. They also provided valuable insights into the state of the sports media industry and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Channel Seven will gain greater access to AFL content on its 7Plus service starting next year as the code’s new broadcast deal comes into operation. Seven West Media’s chief revenue officer, Kurt Burnette, said the new arrangements “bring massive audiences in 2024 and beyond … with the new rights unlocking the full audience potential of free sport for advertisers and brands”.