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In what can only be described as potentially exciting news for FFA as they scope out the new broadcast deal, Roy Morgan Research has found that more people are now watching the A-League than the Premier League in Australia.

The A-League television audience has grown by more than 50% since 2011.

In 2015, 2.1 million Aussies (or 11.0% of the population) reported watching A-League football (soccer) on TV either regularly or occasionally, up from 1.4 million viewers (7.6%) in 2011. Of course, as anyone with even a passing interest in the subject would know, the A-League’s broadcasting arrangements changed as of the 2013-14 season, when free-to-air network SBS joined Pay TV channel Fox Sports in televising matches (previously FOX had exclusive broadcast rights).

The growth in the A-League’s TV audience can be seen across both genders, with increased proportions of men and women tuning in: 16.0% of men and 6.2% of women watched it in 2015 (up from 11.3% and 4.0% respectively).

Over the same period, viewership of the English Premier League remained relatively unchanged, with its audience hovering around the 1.8 million viewer/9.5% mark since 2011.

Young men aged under 25 are the most avid viewers, with 19.6% of them watching A-League matches on TV either occasionally or almost always (up from 13.3% in 2011), but there has been a consistent upturn among men of all ages. Women, too, are more likely than ever to watch the A-League on TV, with increases across all age groups.

“The A-League has come a long way since its debut season in 2005, not least in terms of TV viewers,” said Shaun Ellis of Roy Morgan Research.

“While its first eight seasons were broadcast exclusively on FOX Sports, it became more widely viewable from the 2013-14 season when SBS secured shared broadcast rights.”

Mr Ellis said the switch to show one game per week on free-to-air SBS would be a determining factor in the increase.

Mr Ellis said it was also good news for the A-League’s major sponsor, Hyundai with almost 40% of Australians who watch A-League on television making the association between the two. He said this was a higher level of sponsorship awareness than Australian Rules viewers in respect of Toyota. 

“Meanwhile, the English Premier League’s TV audience has remained fairly steady since 2011.  Historically broadcast exclusively on FOX Sports, the EPL’s audience numbers will be worth monitoring once Optus takes over broadcast rights to see how significantly this impacts on the number of Aussies watching the EPL,” Mr Ellis said. 

Categories: News | A-League | Football Business

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