The Sydney vs West Coast AFL Grand Final
turned out to be a record breaker in many ways, especially for the Ten
Network. It was only the second AFL game to be watched by a national TV
audience exceeding three million people.

Around
3.39 million
people watched, second behind the 1996 Grand Final lost by the Swans to
North Melbourne. The AFL also turned on Sydney in a way not seen for
years, while the NRL Preliminary Final on Saturday night also did well
for the Nine Network in Sydney where the audience for the
Wests Tigers vs St George Illawarra match was the finals game outside
of the Grand Final. But for the first time in the 2005 finals, the AFL
match
out-rated the NRL game in Sydney.

Of the average 3.39 million national audience, 991,000 watched in Sydney and 341,000 in Brisbane. Not
counted of course were the tens of thousands who watched the game in
pubs and clubs and other outlets. That would have lifted the audience
well past the million mark. In
contrast, of the 1.15 million people who watched the NRL final on
Saturday night, 745,000 were in Sydney and 334,000 in Brisbane.

The Swans win will
no doubt give the AFL a big boost in Sydney, which is not good news for
the NRL, though it has had a very good year for crowds. For the AFL,
341,000 watched in Adelaide and a massive 511,000 in Perth, which was a
record for that city. The audience peaked at around
5pm with more than 4.02 million people watching in the five major
markets.

Nationally Nine won the night with a 31.9% share from Ten with
22.5%, The ABC was third with 21.0%, followed by Seven with 19.7% and
SBS 4.7%. That was largely due to a huge win in Sydney, where Nine had
a 44.1% share thanks to the NRL, and wins in Brisbane and Adelaide. Ten
won Melbourne.

Nine
won the week with a 30.8% share to 26.5% for Seven,
20.9% for Ten, 16.6% for the ABC and 5.2% for SBS. Nine won all markets thanks
to the combination of the Brownlow Medal on Monday
night and a strong Sunday night. The NRL
in Sydney and Brisbane on Saturday night was the icing on the
cake.

Peter Fray

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