BIG TV numbers tune-in for Glory

Perth Glory's rise as an A-League powerhouse continues to grow.

Perth Glory Chairman Tony Sage has praised the club-s loyal and passionate fans following a report that shows Perth Glory are the third most watched team on television in the Hyundai A-League.

“It-s a fantastic result for our club,” Mr Sage said.

“Personally, I-d like to thank our members and fans for their continued support.

“The numbers published in the report reflect the strategic work we-ve completed over the past 18 months, reshaping Perth Glory as a successful brand to engage and support.

Here is a copy of the report published in today-s Australian newspaper by Stuart Honeysett.

Global sports research agency Repucom International has just finished compiling its 2012 Football Benchmarking Report, which compares figures from Australia's football codes - AFL, NRL, Super Rugby and the A-League - based on OzTAM ratings and AGB Nielsen audience research.

While AFL and the A-League were the big winners and the NRL remained steady, it was the alarming dip in fans watching the Super Rugby competition that should have the powerbrokers at ARU headquarters concerned.

Having drawn a cumulative audience of 8.8 million when the Queensland Reds won their first title in 2011, that figure slumped to 7.8 million this year when the Reds were the only team of five Australian franchises to make the finals.

Despite their inability to win back-to-back titles, the Reds were still the most popular franchise with 1.89 million viewers followed by the NSW Waratahs with 1.71 million and Melbourne Rebels with 1.33 million.

"Super Rugby had a disappointing season, no doubt on the back of sub-standard performances by the Australian franchises," Repucom International's Asia,

Australia and New Zealand managing director, Lynne Anderson, said yesterday. "Comparisons with the 2011 season were always going to be difficult, given the huge wave of success that saw the Reds take out the trophy."

The AFL announced its record $1.253 billion media rights deal last year and capitalised on a boom in subscription television broadcasts which were up from 19.3 million viewers in 2011 to 39.3 million this year - an increase of 101 per cent.

Although free-to-air viewers dropped from 94 million to 84 million this year, or a loss of 10.69 per cent, the massive increase in pay-TV watchers was enough to help the AFL record an increase of 8.59 per cent across the board.

Collingwood was the most watched club with 24.26 million viewers followed by Hawthorn with 22.30 million and premier Sydney with 19.83 million.

The NRL has also benefited from a lucrative $1.023bn media rights deal recently but showed only a marginal increase in viewers from 113.5 million to 113.9 million, or 0.37 per cent, this year.

Brisbane was the most popular team with 22.91 million viewers followed by the Bulldogs with 21.80 million and South Sydney with 19.75 million.

However, it is another test considered more accurate - which counts a viewer only once throughout the season - that shows the gap between AFL and NRL might not be as big as first thought: the gap between the two codes was only 128,000 viewers in favour of the AFL.

The other big winner was the A-League, which has also recently negotiated a $160m media rights deal. Figures show its viewing audience had jumped from 7.5 million last year to 9.5 million in 2012 - an increase of 26.72 per cent.

Brisbane Roar drew the most viewers with 2.44 million followed by Melbourne Victory with 2.34 million and Perth Glory with 2.06 million.

It is a figure that will climb higher next year with the addition of several star imports this season - most notably Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero.

"The A League had a great year in 2011-12, producing the largest increase of all football codes with a 27 per cent increase in cumulative audiences," Anderson said.

"And this figure will be resoundingly beaten in the current season, with the Del Piero and Emile Heskey presence, especially producing substantial increases across all consumption metrics for the game."