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Fox Footy's Friday night flirt attracts viewers

Matt Thompson  March 23, 2013 12:45 PM

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Punters continue to be drawn to Eddie McGuire if ratings from Friday nights pre-game show are any indication

FOX FOOTY's move into Friday night pre-game shows has excelled, with the Eddie McGuire fronted panel out-rated only by the game itself.

The Friday Night Footy on Fox pre-game show was the second highest rating program on subscription television for the evening with 134,000 viewers nationally, while 247,000 viewers chose to watch the Adelaide-Essendon game commercial free.

Seven broadcast the game on its main channel in Melbourne and Adelaide and on digital channel 7Mate in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane, to a national average audience of 951,000 viewers.

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James Manning, editor of MediaWeek magazine, said Fox Footy would be delighted with the pre-game numbers.

"On a regular night that'd be the number one show on subscription television," Manning told AFL.com.au.  

"They're just looking to capitalise, it was the number one subscription TV channel for as long as the season lasted last year."

Some fans took to social media, angered by commentators from host broadcaster Seven going silent in between goals, while it took commercial breaks, but the network denies it's reverted to its old practice.  

Talking points: Adelaide v Essendon

"It wasn't deliberate, or policy or any change from last year. The commentators just weren't talking in a couple of breaks," a Seven spokesperson told AFL.com.au.

Overall, Manning doesn't believe Seven would be concerned by what Fox is up to.

"I don't think Seven are particularly worried, they're pretty confident that because their product's free the Fox Footy offering is always going to be comparatively niche," Manning said.  

It was the first time Seven broadcast the AFL on 7mate, as opposed to its main channel, live into Perth with 92-thousand viewers watching at the earlier time of 5.40pm.

Seven's Friday night coverage was bolstered by a live horse racing cross at half time for Black Caviar's 24th consecutive victory.

Matt Thompson is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter @MattThompsonAFL