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1 in 4 AFL club supporters watch the pre-season on TV

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

(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 is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%