AFL on Nine

Does anyone remember how Nine would televise the Sunday 4:00pm match in Melbourne?

From what I can gather, pre-match and half-time would be omitted (normally an AFL broadcast would go for at least three hours) and they’d go straight to National Nine News either after the final siren or the team song.

This was part of Nine’s Sunday AFL double-header; they also had the rights to the 1:00pm match, which would be played at any of the Gabba, SCG, Kardinia Park, Aurora Stadium (now UTAS Stadium) or AAMI Stadium (12:40pm local). This in turn made Nine’s Sunday news bulletins one of the most watched in Melbourne at this time.

This is one of these Sunday 4:00pm matches that I am talking about:


My recollection is that the 1:10pm game would be shown (in full) live into Melbourne. Then they would show highlights of the first half of the 2:10pm game before showing the second half (in full) on delay up to 6pm.


If you don’t want to know the scores, look away now


…one of my favourite parts about Nine’s coverage of the Sunday 1:00pm game. Would be accompanied to the tune of the Hunters and Collectors’ “Do You See What I See?”.


This format seemed to be popular with fans. Thanks to the hybrid format as a lead-in, National Nine News were often able to pull 850,000-900,000 viewers in Melbourne every Sunday during the AFL season. It was Nine News at its peak.


I’m assuming that’s in Melbourne alone?

And had it been Peter Hitchener presenting, chances are that ratings could’ve nudged 1M. However, the Sunday-Thursday and Friday-Saturday format (which only Nine News in Sydney has adopted this decade) hadn’t been invented yet.

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Some news services were doing this in the 80s.


Yes it was. In comparison, Seven News could only get around 200,000 viewers in Melbourne every Sunday and that hurt the ratings of Seven’s line-up for the rest of the night.

that’s quite a gap


Ouch. Obviously this was during Seven’s darkest period in which they had no winter sport to broadcast regularly.

I would also like to think that when Seven got the AFL rights back in 2007, the Sunday 2:00pm match would be delayed by one hour in Melbourne so as to provide a strong lead-in to the news, whereas it was live in Sydney and Brisbane (unless their teams were playing in the earlier 1:00pm match, which was also live into those markets in place of the 2:00pm match).

The strange thing was, when Seven showed the 2pm match delayed by one hour, Seven News still often lost to Nine News in Melbourne, albeit with a much smaller gap.


After Nine lost the AFL, they wouldn’t show the Sunday 4:00pm NRL match into Melbourne (except in the rare case the Melbourne Storm was playing), hampering its news lead-in. It would be shown sometime after midnight (it was the same case with the Sunday 4:00pm AFL match in Sydney and Brisbane between 2002-06).

Because Nine had both the AFL and NRL between 2002-06, they had to broadcast one after the other on Friday nights, separated by Nightline. The league would be shown first in Sydney and Brisbane, with the AFL on the other side of Nightline; in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth it was the reverse.

On Sundays, every market would get the 1:00pm AFL match (live on the East Coast), after which Syd/Bris got an NRL match and Melb/Ade/Perth got the condensed two-hour AFL match mentioned above.

You did mention that Nine News Melbourne still managed to win most weekends after they lost the AFL, though it must be said the weeknight news battle in 2007 was extremely close. I would like to think that Seven getting back the AFL rights had something to do with it.

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Those were the Days where the Only AFL Clubs located in Rugby League Heartland (New South Wales and Queensland) were the Sydney Swans and Brisbane Lions Respectively and Both Won Premierships during the 2000’s.

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I did read somewhere that the Sydney Swans’ 2005 premiership win (which came not long after the Brisbane Lions’ hat-trick of flags) well and truly made the AFL a national competition, because by this point, at least one team in the five major states had won a flag.

Also worth noting that non-Victorian teams dominated the first half of the noughties; since 2006, only the Swans and Eagles have been able to take the flag out of Victoria.

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The Nine/Ten rights era (2002-2006) actually had all premierships won outside Victoria!

Ten broadcast all finals and the granny during this period. Nine never showed a final. I recall the reason Ten secured the finals exclusively was because they agreed to show Saturday night football live into Sydney and Brisbane. Nine with NRL commitments on Friday night could not match this and thus were not rewarded with any final.


There were weeks where because of Wimbledon, the Open Championship and (in 2002) Formula 1 where northern states would either get the condensed replay very late or even not at all. Fox Footy would show that game in full at 8:30 following “The Winners” or the late game from Perth. The same I’m sure applied in southern states for NRL.

Fox Footy (the original version 2002-2006) actually had different feeds for every state for this purpose.

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Ten in Brisbane would show most (if not all) of the Saturday night games live, but only games involving the Sydney Swans were shown live (or on 1/2 hour delay) in Sydney. The fact the Brisbane Lions were a powerhouse during that period helped a lot.

During this period the Swans specifically requested not to play Friday night matches as it would’ve clashed with the NRL.

But since the start of the 2012-16 broadcasting rights period, which allowed AFL games to be shown live on 7mate in Sydney and Brisbane, the Swans have featured frequently on Friday nights; their game against Essendon in 2014 outdrew both NRL matches played in Sydney on that day.

Indeed for one season they had Fox Footy Extra specific for states to show live matches and Fox Footy Channel for the replays and panel shows, particularly those that 10 were covering at the same time as their local team.

However they only had access to 3 exclusively live games (plus near live telecasts of Friday Night into the Northern States), and they almost always showed the late game from Perth or the 2nd game in Melbourne (when they had one game at Docklands and the other at either MCG or Princes Park) live, exceptions being when 9 did a rare game from Adelaide or Perth starting after the 1:10 game (and most times when they did that the early game was from Geelong, or at least it seemed that way, never seemed to follow up games from Sydney, Brisbane or Launceston with a live or near live interstate game).

I remember a few times that TCN and QTQ would broadcast the Friday night AFL match after Wimbledon coverage, starting at 5:00am (following an hour block featuring Entertainment Tonight and another program which I forgot) and finishing at around 8:30am in the morning. I’m sure the same would’ve happened in the southern states with the NRL (finishing at 7:30am in that case - some 10 hours after full-time in real time).

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