STRONG growth in television audiences in New South Wales and Queensland have ensured the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season has returned with outstanding ratings as the season continues to unfold.

After five rounds, New South Wales and Queensland audiences have risen by 16 per cent on free-to-air television against 2019 figures, with a 38 per cent increase in the Brisbane audience alone as against 2019, as the Lions and SUNS both occupy positions in the top eight.

Overall, national TV ratings for the AFL competition are up a staggering 21 per cent on 2019, reflecting the increased interest in the game and the closeness of the competition.

With 109 games of the home and away season remaining, we hope all Australians can continue to support their clubs during what continues to be the most challenging period for our game at all levels across the country

- Gillon McLachlan

The Brisbane Lions' Saturday night game against the West Coast Eagles in Round Three saw the second-highest free-to-air audience in Brisbane for a home and away game since 2014. It also marked the highest free-to-air audience for a home and away game since 2011.

Thursday night marquee matches have been particularly strong, averaging 1.2 million fans per game, 16 per cent ahead of last year, while Friday night audiences have increased nine per cent against last year’s figures to reach an average of 1.1 million fans per game.
 
Top Five Games for 2020
1. Round 2 Collingwood v Richmond (Thursday night - 1.63m viewers – highest ever Thursday night home-and-away television audience)
2. Round 1 Richmond v Carlton (Friday night - 1.37m viewers)
3. Round 2 Geelong Cats v Hawthorn (Friday night – 1.28m viewers)
4. Round 5 Collingwood v Essendon (Friday night – 1.12m viewers)
5. Round 3 Richmond v Hawthorn (Thursday night – 1.10m viewers)

AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan expressed his thanks to all football fans across the country who are tuning in to the game, and thanked broadcast partners - the Seven Network, Foxtel and Telstra.

"I want to acknowledge the continued challenges facing so many Australians, in football and in the broader community," Mr McLachlan said.

"I hope that for many Australians, the AFL season continues to provide a comforting sense of familiarity for all fans across the country, and we thank each of those fans for their continued support of the game.

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"I want to especially thank fans in New South Wales and Queensland who have shown unprecedented interest in the broadcast of AFL games this year.

"We know participation at all levels of football in both states has continued to trend upwards with nearly 300,000 participants in New South Wales and 270,000 participants in Queensland in 2019, an increase of seven per cent for each state.

"Female participants now make up 41 per cent of total participation in Queensland while New South Wales saw an increase of 15 per cent for female participation last year.

"These participants are not just playing the game, they’re watching, following and supporting teams in New South Wales and Queensland - reflected in the viewership figures released today.

"With the current situation and restrictions in place in Victoria – 10 AFL teams have temporarily relocated to both those states –  we thank everyone in New South Wales and Queensland for their support of our game, including the respective State Governments and their medical officials.

"I also want to thank our long-term broadcast partners, the Seven Network, Foxtel and Telstra, for their ongoing support and commitment to Australian football at all levels of the game.

"With 109 games of the home and away season remaining, we hope all Australians can continue to support their clubs during what continues to be the most challenging period for our game at all levels across the country," Mr McLachlan said.