The good news for the AFL, as it restarts its 2020 season, is that significantly more Australians (7.4 million) watch the AFL on TV than watch Sydney-based rival the NRL (6 million), although both have declined in recent years.
A year ago over 7.5 million Australians said they watched the AFL on TV and this number has dropped by over 100,000 for the latest research conducted in the 12 months to March 2020.
The AFL is more popular with both genders than the NRL. There are more than 4.2 million men that watch the AFL on TV compared to 3.6 million that watch the NRL and over 3.2 million women that watch the AFL on TV compared to almost 2.4 million that watch the NRL.
TV viewership of the AFL is strongest amongst older Australians. Over 40% of Australians aged 50+ watch the AFL on TV including 1.97 million aged 50-64 and 1.71 million aged 65+.
In contrast around a third of people aged 35-49 (1.77 million) watch the AFL on TV as do just over a quarter of people aged either 25-34 (1 million) or under 25 (975,000).
TV viewership of the AFL Women’s competition increases while others decline
TV viewership of the AFL Women’s competition has increased over the past year while there have been declines for pre-season games, Home & Away games, AFL Finals and the AFL Grand Final.
Now 2.78 million people watch the AFL Women’s on TV, up from 2.42 million a year ago – an increase of 360,000. There have been increases for both genders and across all age groups.
Interestingly more men (1.64 million) than women (1.14 million) now watch the AFL Women’s on TV – the competition is most popular for people aged 50-64 – watched by over 750,000.
The largest increase in TV viewership of AFL Women’s from a year ago is for those aged 35-49, up by over 170,000 (+32%) to 726,000.
This new data comes from Roy Morgan Single Source survey, Australia’s most comprehensive consumer survey, derived from in-depth interviews with over 50,000 Australians each year.
The rise in TV viewership of the AFL Women’s is perhaps not surprising given the significant expansion of the competition in recent years with six clubs entering the competition in 2019 and 2020. These clubs include the last two Premiers in the AFL Men’s competition Richmond and West Coast as well as Geelong, Gold Coast, North Melbourne, and St. Kilda.
Industry Communications Director Julian McCrann says the resumption of the AFL season in recent weeks has provided 7.4 million Australians with some live sport to enjoy: