AFL considering twilight grand final


The AFL is undecided over plans for a twilight Grand Final for 2017.

Seven has long-hoped for a match that crosses into primetime viewing, to avoid the bumper audience numbers remaining technically out of annual ratings share.

Announcing the 2017 fixture today, CEO Gillon McLachlan said he was still undecided about the move. By contrast the NRL Grand Final played at 6:30pm serves Nine very well.

Meanwhile McLachlan also confirmed that Channel TEN would not be taking up an offer to broadcast 11 matches next year, meaning these would be shown only on Pay TV.

The season will feature more Thursday night matches, up from five in 2016 to eight and a Good Friday match to begin late afternoon to avoid clashing with religious ceremonies. That will also be a challenge to Seven’s own Good Friday Appeal in Melbourne, no doubt drawing upon multichannels.

AFL season returns Thursday March 23 2017 with Carlton v Richmond at the MCG.

Source: Fairfax


  1. Maybe Ch 7 should exert their time and money into pressuring for the ratings to reflect real life.

    Don’t change things for the sake of ratings – make the ratings more relevant.

  2. I know this is a TV site so I should care about what’s good for ratings but I don’t. I care about a match played under natural light, with people not plastered out of their minds before it even starts, where kids can go into the street and safely play kick-to-kick at half time, where fans are considered ahead of the corporate world for once. Isn’t it crap enough that most of the tickets go to corporate flunkies who can’t name a single player? Ditto Thursday night games – who clamoured for those? Not any fan I ever met. Who wants to go to a night match when they have work the next day? Suck it up Seven and do the right thing by the fans, for once. The TV audience matters but without the fans, you’re stuffed.

  3. The reality is there was still maybe 50%-60% of Australia not watching the AFL GF this year.
    The reach figure was 6.5 million watching at home (maybe another 2 million watching at pubs/clubs/bars etc)
    At least push it back to 4.30 – 7.30 (ideally 6 – 9pm EST) – A far better time to allow more people to tune in across the country.

  4. Heres an idea channel ten:
    Buy the a-league rights outright and then threaten to onsell them to Optus. Let’s see how fast Foxtel will want to come to the table on those 11 afl games then.

  5. News Corp said that they were going to “the highest bidder” for the Saturday twilight games, that never happened. News Corp was asking too much for Ten.

  6. jezza the first original one

    I hope the afl stay with the traditional time. It will still attract a huge audience and advertisers will still pay out large sums. So from a $$$ point of view what will change? A. Nothing, it’s not a major international event, just a local footy code. Also I am getting so fed up of so much sport being played around the world under floodlights, what the hell is wrong with natural light?

      • jezza the first original one

        It still rates so can be included in any ratings report, a bit like the Melbourne Cup, which still makes any move irrelevant

        • We are talking about ‘prime-time’ rating which would count towards how much a network win that evening as a whole. As you’ve said it’s probably not a big deal but it is probably a big deal for Seven. Haven’t you read the recent saga about the breakfast battle and the potential court case between Seven and Nine?

  7. The AFL Good Friday game won’t be a challenge to Seven’s Good Friday Appeal telecast. In fact Seven is happy to show the match and integrate it into the coverage.

  8. I know some people would deplore the idea of prime time GF but from a business point of view for Seven, this is good. Not to mention the amount of money Seven has invested into it. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether it’s shown in morning, afternoon or evening, people will watch the GF.
    And I thought it’d be sensible for Ten to acquire those 11 matches – it may help pull in audiences. Is it a money issue?

          • Local markets still receive 77 games (3.5 per round) on 7.
            In SA/WA local sides are on 19 out of 22 games (Fox have 3 exclusive). NSW/Qld sides are on in local markets 22 of 22 games. In essence, markets outside Vic/Tas have 11 rounds of Fri night plus their local sides as the FTA games.

  9. Mr game show fan

    I would have it full night time (between 7:20 pm and 8:10pm AEST for first bounce) and have the whole day set like a Super Bowl game in the NFL in America. Should boost ratings even further. However I feel that the AFL won’t change the Grand Final start time at all.

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