Footy roars back on Seven with biggest Thursday Night ever

• Largest prime-time home and away audience for 10 years

A record number of fans flocked to Seven last night to celebrate the AFL’s return, with the Collingwood-Richmond blockbuster drawing the biggest ever live and free audience for Thursday Night Football.

As the Magpies and Tigers restarted the 2020 season with a draw, an average audience of 1.275 million tuned in nationally to Seven.

It was the biggest prime-time audience for a home and away game for 10 years and topped the last seven Anzac Day blockbusters between Collingwood and Essendon.

Seven’s average metro audience of 1.02 million was more than 150 cent up on the NRL’s free-to-air metro audience of 394,000. And more people watched Seven’s AFL broadcast in Melbourne alone (668,000) than the NRL’s free-to-air coverage across the whole of Australia (619,000).

Managing director Seven Melbourne and head of network sport Lewis Martin commented:

“Last night just underlines how much Aussies love their footy and how glad we all are to finally have it back. We’ve worked tirelessly for the past three months on some exciting technical innovations and on-air initiatives to further enhance our broadcast for fans at home. But the footy will always be at the core of everything we do and we can’t wait to bring fans what shapes as a compelling season.”

Seven’s metro audience last night was also 25 per cent up on 2020’s round one season-opener between Richmond and Carlton, 58 per cent up on Richmond and Collingwood’s 2019 round two clash and a whopping 70 per cent up on last season’s Thursday Night Football average audience.

Melbourne’s average audience was 23 per cent up on 2020’s season opener, 58 per cent up on Richmond-Collingwood 2019 round two, and 93 per cent up on last season’s Thursday Night Football average.

Fans in Sydney and Brisbane also warmly welcomed the footy back on Seven, with Sydney’s average audience of 52,000 representing a 105 per cent increase on round two last year, while Brisbane’s audience of 41,000 was 77 per cent up on last year.

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