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Footy Fever: AFL the Most Popular Sport on TV and Online

1 minute read | Shane Mattiske, Managing Director, Nielsen Sports | January 2017

The first weekend of October 2016 marked two significant events in Australian sporting history: on the Saturday, the Western Bulldogs won their first AFL grand final in 62 years with their incredible victory against the Sydney Swans; the following day, NRL fans witnessed a similar performance when the Cronulla Sharks knocked off Melbourne Storm and took out their first premiership in 49 years.

The AFL Grand Final dominated TV, with OzTAM data revealing the face off between the Western Bulldogs and the Sydney Swans averaged 3.039 million – the highest metro audience for a Grand Final since 2006.

Footy enthusiasts also embraced their fandom online, with Nielsen Digital Ratings (Monthly) showing AFL to be the number one sport online with a unique audience of 3.1 million in October 2016 – a 25% increase (or +250,000 unique audience) on October 2015.

In addition to the grand final, other key AFL events contributed to its growing audience online including a live blog of the men’s trade period, a live stream of the first draft of the inaugural AFL women’s competition and the announcement of the men’s fixtures for the 2017 season.

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