Olympic focus shifts to derby
Andrew Gaff and Tendai Mzungu look forward to their clash. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

All eyes have been glued to coverage of the Olympics this week but in WA this afternoon the focus will shift to the local football derby.

A WA television audience of about 170,000 has watched Australia go for gold at the Games in London each night on Channel 9 but the sold-out match between home-town rivals West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers today is expected to have viewers switching channels.

The previous derby in May recorded viewing figures of 212,000 for Channel 7. The seven-hour time difference between Perth and London has proved difficult for viewers to get on board Nine's coverage.

On three nights this week more people tuned in to Seven News than the Olympics coverage.

Thousands have vented their anger and frustration at the coverage via online social media sites.

It was a different story back in 2000 at the Sydney Olympics when Cathy Freeman's gold medal performance in the 400m delivered the highest ever Games television ratings, with more than 400,000 West Australians tuning in. The Olympics can ignite the dreams of children and thousands are already involved in sporting pursuits at junior level across the State.

Hockey is one of the most popular sports for children with more than 12,400 aligned with clubs around WA.

More than 7000 West Australian children are involved with Athletics WA and Little Athletics while another 4000 are signed up with Swimming WA affiliations.

But the hearts of many children beat true with Aussie Rules football - more than 62,500 children aged five to 17 play football for a local club or with Auskick.

Foxtel's broadcast of this year's Olympics has delivered subscription television its highest ever ratings.

Last Sunday night, a national peak audience of 1.23 million tuned in while another 2.14 million watched it on Nine.

The West Australian

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