It’s a constant battle (or all-out war in Western Sydney if you believe he papers) for bragging rights between the AFL and the NRL as to who is the most popular code in Australia and going off the 2012 ratings, the AFL have piped the NRL once again with the AFL grand final the most watched sporting event in 2012.
Top 5 Sport Telecasts
1. AFL grand final (7)
2. Melbourne Cup carnival (7)
3. State Of Origin (9)
4. NRL grand final (9)
5. London Olympics (9)
While the interstate rivalry stirred with a Sydney Swans vs Hawthorn Hawks decider certainly added to the buzz, the NRL benefited from the same opportunity to make an extra grab for interstate viewers with the Melbourne Storm taking on the Canterbury Bulldogs but the NRL grand final could only manage a fourth.
Thanks to the popularity of the the Swans and the Hawks, and the fact that the game was the most thrilling sporting contest of the year by far, the AFL were also able to beat out the race that stops the nation. But considering the Melbourne Cup loses a share of ratings heft thanks to audiences crowded around TV’s in pubs, restaurants, and workplaces across Australia, it’s placing at number two is testament to it’s widespread popularity.
Outranking the NRL grand final, State of Origin confirmed that it is the true centerpiece rugby league in Australia. Coming in at number three, it’s wider appeal can be attributed to a growing fascination with QLD’s enduring dynasty and the fact that fans from rival sports still have an appreciation for dudes actively trying to rip each others’ heads off.
The absence of Wallaby action in the list is telling indication that sports fans are frustrated with the confusing penalties, constant stoppages, and the fact that the running rugby specialising Wallaby team have forgotten how to play running rugby.
And the most disappointing effort of all goes to Channel 9’s Olympic coverage. Still scrapping in at number 5, the event should have been a bona fide hit. Sure the medal count was down but Channel 9’s shoddy swimming heavy take saw plenty of viewers switching to the 8 channel Fox coverage. Essentially Channel 9 provided the pay TV giant with their greatest promotion of the year.
With Channel 9 and 7 set to continue their dominance with their AFL and NRL coverage, the lagging channels will need to think outside the box if they are to mount a challenge. In an attempt to level the playing field, I give you Chess Boxing! Come on Channel 10, it wouldn’t be your worst idea of the year.
Picture by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images