NRL on track to over take AFL in audience numbers
Apart from Thursday nights tv ratings, NRL is on track to beat the AFL in premiership season audience numbers for the first time in six years.
Thursday Nights AFL audience was 416,000 with 223,000 in Melbourne and 125,000 in Adelaide.
Thursday Nights NRL audience was 350,000, however, it had the biggest live single-market sports crowd with 227,000 in Sydney.
AFL’s audience numbers have been consistently stronger than the NRL in recent years and were evident when they managed to secure the richest broadcast deal in Australian sport history in 2017.
AFL’s current media rights deal is worth $2.5 billion over 6 years from 2017-2022, providing a revenue of $418 million per year.
NRL’s current deal is worth $1.8 billion over 5 years from 2018 – 2022, providing them with revenue of $360 million per year.
However, NRL is set to eclipse the AFL as the most watched football code on TV in 2018.
The cumulative live audience for NRL games in Australia has been 43.0 million for the first 11 Rounds, compared to 43.3m last year.
The AFL’s cumulative live audience is 36.9m for its first 9 rounds, compared to 42.9m last year.
The average free-to-air Audience for the NRL is 612,689 in 2018, compared to 317,003 for the AFL.
The average subscription TV audience (Foxtel) for the NRL is 244,853 in 2018, compared to 180,387 for the AFL.
Based on these figures, Rugby League Central would be wishing they were in negotiation talks for broadcast rights deals this year.