Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016 - Roy Morgan Research

(Fox) Footy’s back! The AFL’s pre-season NAB Challenge kicks off on February 18—and 26% of club supporters (14+) now say they watch the games on TV, down from around 31% in 2011-13 when there was still a Cup to win, Roy Morgan Research shows.  

By a wide margin, North Melbourne Kangaroos supporters are the most likely to say they almost always or occasionally watch pre-season games on television (45%), with the Melbourne Demons in clear second place on the ladder (37%).  

Pre-season viewership ranges from 28% to 33% among supporters of another 11 clubs, and is just below the norm at 24% among fans of the Gold Coast Suns, Fremantle Dockers, or Richmond Tigers.

But the norm of 26% is heavily weighed down by lack of interest among supporters of two particular (and large) clubs: just 11% of the 1.1 million Sydney Swans supporters and 16% of the 550,000 or so Brisbane Lions supporters tune in for pre-season games. Take these so-called supporters out of the mix, and it’s 29% of all other AFL club supporters who’ll be watching over the coming month.

% of AFL Club Supporters who watch Pre-season Games on TV

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Jan-Dec 2015, sample n = 50,276 Australians 14+ including 6,012 who support AFL teams.

Tim Martin, General Manager – Media, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Part of last year’s $2.5 billion AFL broadcasting deal was that Foxtel would retain exlcusive rights to televise all NAB Challenge games on its Fox Footy channel.

“16% of Foxtel subscribers cite Fox Footy as a channel they especially choose to watch—and over half of these Fox Footy fans will tune in to watch pre-season games.

“Despite overall pre-season interest declining somewhat since the abandonment in 2014 of a competition winner, it’s the interest among its current and potential subscribers that Foxtel will need to monitor to see if the rights deal delivers real long-term ROI.

“This data suggests that Foxtel’s promotion of the NAB Challenge could have only limited effect in the Sydney and Brisbane markets, and will need to customise its marketing efforts based on what viewers in these cities especially choose to watch instead.” 

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Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
Shaun Ellis
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