The AFL thanks all supporters for a strong start to the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season which saw a total average TV audience of 4.53 million and 250,000 Australians attend matches across the opening round of men's football.
AFL Executive General Manager Finance, Clubs and Broadcast Travis Auld will be available to media at 3:40pm AEDT out the front of AFL House.
Brisbane audiences were up 54 per cent compared to Round One in 2019, up 47 per cent compared to Round One in 2020 and up 59 per cent compared to the 2015 – 2019 five year average for Round One.
Friday night footy was up 16 per cent in Melbourne compared to the 2019 season average while Saturday night's Essendon v Hawthorn match was up seven per cent compared to an average Saturday night game in 2019.
In New South Wales, the Sydney audience was up 17 per cent compared to the 2015 – 2019 five year average for the Thursday night season-opener.
Supporters of AFL not only watched games in strong numbers, close to 50,000 supporters returned to the MCG for the season-opener between Richmond and Carlton while 23,000 Queenslanders were at The Gabba for the game between the Brisbane Lions and the Sydney Swans.
A total of 38, 500 Western Australians attended the West Coast Eagles v Gold Coast SUNS clash while over 5,000 supporters were in attendance at GIANTS Stadium.
Adelaide Oval welcomed 27,000 supporters back for the game between the Adelaide Crows and the Geelong Cats.
On the field, key statistics pointed to entertaining contests across the round. Less tackles were laid with an average of 51.9 per team per game in Round One compared to 62 at the same stage in 2019 while the number of ball ups and throw ins were also down in comparison to 2019 averages, respectively.
The transition from defensive 50 to inside 50 increased by 5.7 per cent compared to 2019.
Round One saw total scoring per game increase from an average of 78.5 in 2019 to 84.9 in 2021.
AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan said it was great to see supporters at games over the weekend.
"I want to acknowledge the dedication of everyone in the football community across the country in supporting the opening round of the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season and Round Eight of the NAB AFL Women's Competition," Mr McLachlan said.
"It was fantastic to see members and supporters back at all games over the weekend.
"We witnessed some great contests in both the men's and women's competitions and we're already looking forward to this weekend's games - Round Nine of the NAB AFLW is set to shape the Final Six."
The AFL thanks the Clubs, Players, Umpires and football supporters across the country, and thank broadcast partners – the Seven Network, Foxtel and Telstra – for their continued support of the men's and women's game.
Overall: The total average TV audience for Round 1 was 4.53M made up of 2.38M for Metro, 761K for Regional and 1.39M for Pay TV.
Brisbane audience: Up 54 per cent compared to Round One in 2019. Up 59 per cent compared to the 2015 – 2019 five year average for Round One.
Sydney audience: Up 17 per cent compared to the 2015 – 2019 five year average for the Thursday night season-opener.
Melbourne audience: Friday night footy was up 16 per cent in Melbourne compared to the 2019 season average. Saturday night's Essendon v Hawthorn match was up seven per cent compared to an average Saturday night game in 2019.
Richmond v Carlton, MCG: 49,218
Collingwood v Western Bulldogs, MCG: 46,051
Melbourne v Fremantle, MCG: 21,365
Adelaide v Geelong, Adelaide Oval: 26,985
Essendon v Hawthorn, Marvel Stadium: 25,128
Brisbane v Sydney, the Gabba: 22,726
North Melbourne v Port Adelaide, Marvel Stadium: 13,050
GWS GIANTS v St Kilda, GIANTS Stadium: 5,014
West Coast v Gold Coast, Optus Stadium: 38,493
GAME STATISTICS: R1, 2019 | R1, 2021
Scoring (points for): 78.5 | 84.9
Inside 50s: 54.7 | 55.7
Contested marks: 9.1 | 10.4
D50 to I50 (%): 23.3% | 29%
Tackles: 62 | 51.9
Stoppages: 86.2 | 77.3
% secondary stoppages: 12.5% | 10.6%
Contested possession (%): 40.8% | 38.9%
Pressure factor: 1.81 | 1.76