The television audience figures for the drawn AFL grand final on Saturday tell us two things. the first is that without a major interstate team involved, especially from Sydney, the league and the host broadcaster will get “only” solid figures, not outstanding ones.
And the figures confirm the enormous interest in what was going to happen after the drawn final.
Figures from the Seven Network show that nearly 600,000 extra people tuned in to watch the presentations in the hope of finding out about the a replay.
An average of 2.76 million people watched the game in the five metro capital markets, but a total of 3.35 million tuned in to watch what was supposed to be the presentations (one, the Norm Smith Medal to St Kilda’s Lenny Hayes, happened).
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
In regional areas, 785,700 people watched the game, making 3.54 million in total (3.47 million in 2009). In regional areas a further 745,000 people watched the presentations, taking the audience for that part of the broadcast to 4.075 million, making it by far the biggest sporting event of the year so far.
It is extremely rare for more people to watch the presentations because the supporters turn off and start drowning their sorrows, but its clear the uncertainty of the situation drove more viewers to watch the after match broadcast than the game in every metro market except Perth, where there was a turnoff (and in regional markets)..
The 2.76 million who watched the game was down on the 2.877 million who watched the 2009 grand final, but higher than the 2007 and 2008 games.
But the two biggest five-city audiences so far recorded under the OzTAM people meters system were 3.386 million in 2005, which was won by the Sydney Swans over the West Coast Eagles.
The 2006 game where the Eagles beat the Swans was watched by an average of 3.145 million.
Since 2007, the grand finals have been dominated by Geelong and St Kilda, with Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Collingwood playing supporting roles.
None of those teams have a hope of attracting the extra 600,000 or so viewers in the Sydney market to boost the audience to the million viewer mark.