As AFL’s Richmond Tigers and NRL’s Melbourne Storm bask in the glory of their Premiership victories, another war was waging across social media.
Sports social content platform 20FOUR today revealed the winner in the battle of the footy codes, declaring the AFL victorious over the NRL in audience engagement during this year’s grand final.
Just over 3.5 million people tuned in to watch the Tigers’ historic win over the Adelaide Crows compared to nearly 3.39 million who saw the Storm’s triumph over the North Queensland Cowboys. While the AFL’s grand final game broadcast drew a higher average audience, the NRL’s pre-match entertainment Macklemore pulled in 1.37 million viewers – 40.4 per cent of overall average television audience. The AFL’s act The Killers attracted 1.04 million – 29.7 per cent of the average.
Macklemore was more than a one-hit wonder, continuing to provide ongoing buzz for the NRL. Videos of Macklemore’s performance on the NRL’s Facebook page accounted for a huge 71.7 per cent of its total video views. Furthermore, total Facebook engagement was 415 per cent higher for the NRL (872,478) against the AFL (210,163). In contrast, if audience engagement around musical acts are eliminated, then the AFL comes out on top (201,258) over the NRL (168,686).
The AFL adopted an ‘always on’ approach to social media during the grand final weekend, producing five posts during the match compared to the NRL which did not make any updates during the showdown. Reflecting across the whole weekend, the AFL created 188 per cent more original social media content – 32 posts – as opposed to the NRL’s 14 posts. The AFL dominated visual content and published 14 videos, making up 44 per cent of its social media output. The NRL posted four videos.
When adding to the mix the AFL’s higher Google trends ranking (100) compared to the NRL (78), it is clear that the AFL were the true winners of the 2017 grand final, which notably was achieved with a 48 per cent smaller Facebook audience than the NRL.