A-League boss questions poor TV ratings

Greg O'Rourke
The head of the A-League is adamant the competition is still being watched, just in a different ways

With A-League TV ratings in serious decline this season, the competition's boss Greg O'Rourke has stressed those figures aren't a fair reflection of Australian football fans. 

According to audience data, just 22,000 watched Melbourne Victory's elimination final against Wellington Phoenix on Foxtel with a further 35,000 tuning in via free-to-air.

In comparison, 77,000 were reported to have watched Tottenham's league game against Bournemouth which was shown on SBS on the same weekend.

While O'Rourke concedes viewing habits of footballs fans have radically changed in recent years, he questioned just how accurate the A-League's TV ratings are. 

"The way they capture ratings is by sample size…they only capture 2000 households across Australia to sample it," O'Rourke said at an FFA community summit in Canberra.

"I can tell you the people that watch our games, kids under the age of 18 that are streaming this stuff, aren’t subscribing to fill out surveys.  

"We have this demographic that is snacking on our product. Even with the streaming that we’ve moved to with Kayo and Telstra - people only watch our game for 30 minutes.

"And a lot of them don’t watch it until Monday when they’re on the bus, on the train or on their boss's time. Yet the ratings came out the day before." 

Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop echoed O'Rourke's comments and pointed out that the arrival of streaming, along with Optus Sport gaining the rights to the English Premier League, has further separated Australia's football fan base when it comes to watching the round ball game. 

"It’s caused a disconnect," Gallop said.

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"The future is we have to find a way to get revenue from these streaming services.

"We’ve also got to pay attention that Foxtel is only in 30 percent of homes. That’s why we’re also talking to free-to-air to make sure the game is on there as well."  

The A-League currently broadcasts one game each round on Channel 10 with reports suggesting a second game could be added in the near future.