Channel Seven has described Saturday night as the “biggest night of sports since Sydney 2000” as it adjusts its schedules to make way for the quarter-final of the Women’s World Cup in which the Matildas will be playing France.
Saturday marks the first day the Matildas will be playing on the same day as the AFL. Seven owns the rights to both.
On Wednesday, Seven made the decision to show the game on the main channel on all states and territories, even if it means that it will have to shift the news bulletin to after the match.
Quoted in The Guardian, Seven Melbourne managing director and head of network sport, Lewis Martin, said: “This Saturday will be a historic moment for all Australians, and the biggest night of sport since Sydney 2000 as the mighty Matildas look to capitalise on their inspiring World Cup campaign.”
Given the Matildas match against Denmark was the highest-rated show of the year, some are predicting that Saturday’s game will even eclipse the 4 million who watched the 2003 men’s rugby world cup final.
Seven has a moved back its 6pm news bulletin to 7pm to make way for the game. It has also moved the AFL game for the Carlton v Melbourne match back five minutes to 7.30pm. This is, however, dependent on the Matildas game finishing on time.
If the game goes into extra time or even, a dreaded penalty shoot-out, then the AFL game will be further delayed.
In the past, Seven has moved its news bulletin to make way for large sporting events such as the AFL and the Olympics. This is, however, the first women’s sporting event that has knocked the news from its 6pm perch.
Veteran sports presenter Jim Wilson posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, said that Channel Seven’s decision was a “total no-brainer”, adding that it had happened for other large FTA sporting events in the past.