AFL Grand Final attracts the game's highest ratings since 2016

Saturday night’s AFL Grand Final was a ratings winner for Channel Seven.

An average national audience of 3.91 million tuned in to watch the Melbourne Demons end a 57-year premiership drought by triumphing over the Western Bulldogs. 

In locked-down Melbourne alone, the game attracted an audience of 1.64 million viewers, up three percent from the year before.

Hitting targets: Saturday night's AFL Grand Final was a ratings winner for Channel 7. Pictured: Christian Petracca takes a kick during the game

Hitting targets: Saturday night's AFL Grand Final was a ratings winner for Channel 7. Pictured: Christian Petracca takes a kick during the game

Hitting targets: Saturday night’s AFL Grand Final was a ratings winner for Channel 7.

Pictured: Christian Petracca takes a kick during the game

Nation wide, 100,000 more watched the Perth-hosted clash than last year’s grand final in Brisbane, which raked in 3.81 million viewers.

The 2021 final was the highest-rating decider for the code since 2016.

The ratings bonanza occurred with Victorians – including those in Melbourne and Geelong – still locked down amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Smash: The ratings bonanza occurred with Victorians - including those in Melbourne and Geelong - still locked down amid the ongoing ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

Smash: The ratings bonanza occurred with Victorians - including those in Melbourne and Geelong - still locked down amid the ongoing ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

Smash: The ratings bonanza occurred with Victorians – including those in Melbourne and Geelong – still locked down amid the ongoing ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

This year’s ratings enjoyed a huge 33 per cent increase on the 2019 decider, when the Tigers beat GWS in the most recent afternoon grand final at the MCG.

Seven said the Demons’ victory was watched by an additional 197,000 viewers on connected televisions and recorded more than twice the number of online streaming minutes of last year’s decider.

It was the largest television audience for a grand final since 2016 – and the fifth-largest ever. 

Captive audience: In locked-down Melbourne alone, the game attracted an audience of 1.64 million viewers, up three percent from the year before. Pictured: Victoria police keeping the peace on the streets of Melbourne

Captive audience: In locked-down Melbourne alone, the game attracted an audience of 1.64 million viewers, up three percent from the year before. Pictured: Victoria police keeping the peace on the streets of Melbourne

Captive audience: In locked-down Melbourne alone, the game attracted an audience of 1.64 million viewers, up three percent from the year before.

Pictured: Victoria police keeping the peace on the streets of Melbourne

The massive television audience for Melbourne’s drought-breaking AFL premiership will undoubtedly weigh heavily on league officials, as they consider calls to shift the grand final back to the traditional afternoon time situs slot gacor next year.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan relented to public pressure in March, when he revealed plans for this year’s decider to be played on a Saturday afternoon at the MCG.

But ongoing coronavirus issues in Victoria ultimately meant the showpiece was shifted interstate and played under lights for the second successive year.

Huge: 3.91 million people tuned in to watch the Melbourne Demons end a 57-year premiership drought by triumphing over the Western Bulldogs. Pictured: Melbourne fans in Perth

Huge: 3.91 million people tuned in to watch the Melbourne Demons end a 57-year premiership drought by triumphing over the Western Bulldogs. Pictured: Melbourne fans in Perth

Huge: 3.91 million people tuned in to watch the Melbourne Demons end a 57-year premiership drought by triumphing over the Western Bulldogs.

Pictured: Melbourne fans in Perth

Big jump: The viewership was an increase from 3.81 million for Richmond's win over Geelong under the Gabba lights last year. Pictured: fans in Perth

Big jump: The viewership was an increase from 3.81 million for Richmond's win over Geelong under the Gabba lights last year. Pictured: fans in Perth

Big jump: The viewership was an increase from 3.81 million for Richmond’s win over Geelong under the Gabba lights last year.

Pictured: fans in Perth

Seven again threw its support behind the night grand final concept, lauding the success of another season decider that was broadcast live in prime time in the big east coast markets.

‘Seven’s prime time coverage, underpinned by our expert commentary and insights, ensured more fans across Australia could enjoy the exciting grand final action,’ Seven Network Melbourne managing director Lewis Martin said.

Optus Stadium was a spectacular stage as the sun set over Perth, with a lighting show and fireworks part of the pre-match and half-time entertainment, as well as the post-match celebrations.

Lost chances: Ongoing coronavirus issues in Victoria ultimately meant the showpiece was shifted interstate and played under lights for the second successive year. Pictured: Masked Melburnians

Lost chances: Ongoing coronavirus issues in Victoria ultimately meant the showpiece was shifted interstate and played under lights for the second successive year. Pictured: Masked Melburnians

Lost chances: Ongoing coronavirus issues in Victoria ultimately meant the showpiece was shifted interstate and played under lights for the second successive year.

Pictured: Masked Melburnians

Debate has raged over the grand final time slot for several years, with the majority of players, coaches and rusted-on fans appearing to favour the afternoon match.

The AFL is yet to give any firm indication about whether the 2022 grand final will be played in the afternoon or at night and a decision may not be made for some months.

In March, McLachlan said the league wanted to look after its supporters by returning to ‘some of the traditions and rituals around footy’.

Way of the future? The AFL is yet to give any firm indication about whether the 2022 grand final will be played in the afternoon or at night and a decision may not be made for some months

Way of the future? The AFL is yet to give any firm indication about whether the 2022 grand final will be played in the afternoon or at night and a decision may not be made for some months

Way of the future?

The AFL is yet to give any firm indication about whether the 2022 grand final will be played in the afternoon or at night and a decision may not be made for some months