How many TV viewers will it take to break the AFL Grand Final record?

• Does Sydney need to play in a Grand Final to break a ratings record?

In the 18 Grand Finals held since OzTAM administered FTA TV ratings data in 2001, Collingwood has played in five Grand Finals (including two in 2010 when they had to return a week later for a replay).

In that same period West Coast has fronted up for three. The West Coast Eagles 2005 match against Sydney Swans saw them play in front of the biggest TV crowd in those 17 years.

That clash between clubs from Perth and Sydney had a combined metro and regional TV audience of 4,443,000. The Perth audience that year was 511,000, but not as big as the following year when the two teams faced off again in the Grand Final – 549,000. The Perth audience cracked half a million one more time in 2013 – 503,000 – when Hawthorn played Fremantle.

The biggest Sydney crowd watching an AFL Grand Final was 991,000 in the 2005 match against West Coast. The following year when both teams were again in battle the number dropped to 759,000.

Sydney has subsequently started in three of the six most-recent Grand Finals, with the audiences dropping to 609,000, 551,000 and 534,000.

Biggest TV crowd for AFL Grand Final

2005: 4,443,000 (Metro 3,386,000, Regional 1,057,000)

The biggest audience watching a Collingwood Grand Final was 4,200,000 in 2003 when they played Brisbane Lions, who were in four successive Grand Finals (and won three of them including this one, which gave them the Threepeat).

Five times in the past 18 Grand Finals the combined national audience passed 4,000,000 average viewers – the most recent in 2016 for the Bulldogs v Sydney. Sydney played in four of those five matches.

In those years the metro viewing audience has passed 3,000,000 three times, the most recent also in 2016 for the Bulldogs v Sydney game.

The biggest regional audience was 1,234,000 for the Collingwood v Brisbane game in 2003. The regional audiences have passed 1,000,000 five times, the last time also for that Bulldogs v Sydney match.

Follow @MediaweekAUS on Twitter for a full breakdown of AFL figures on Sunday morning.

NB: Regional ratings data unavailable for 2001 and 2002.

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