The 2020 AFL grand final between Richmond and Geelong (Image: Seven)

Seven spent much of 2020 complaining and whingeing about the cost of the AFL and Cricket Australia broadcast contracts. But the latter helped save Seven’s bacon in the 2020-21 summer and the former was the lifesaver for 2020 as a whole. It's well on the way to repeating that effort in 2021 because Seven's non-AFL programming is again underperforming.

Last week saw yet another win in total people and the main channels for Seven, thanks to the AFL’s big audiences on Friday and Saturday nights (and the strong lead-in from the Big Freeze game at the SCG on the holiday Monday. This week will be a repeat.

Nine started the 2021 season of Australian Ninja Warrior. It did OK -- 1.08 million and the third-most-watched program on the night -- but it shed 21% of its 2020 audience (it started in late July last year) of 1.37 million. It will battle to keep its head above a million viewers. Nick Kyrgios is supposed to be the ratings bling factor. Hmmmm.