In another ground-breaking season, rugby league matches featuring Queensland club and representative teams attracted record television audiences across multiple levels of the game.
The recent NRL State Championship final between the Intrust Super Cup and NSW Cup premiers capped off the ratings juggernaut, with nearly one million viewers watching the inaugural match.
Northern Pride won the hearts and minds of sports fans across the country when a combined audience of 942,262 witnessed the team from Cairns topple their more fancied opponents the Penrith Panthers 32-28 before the NRL premiership decider.
A week earlier the ‘Pride of the North’ defeated the Easts Tigers to lift the Intrust Super Cup in front of more than 7000 fans at Suncorp Stadium.
This match was the highest rating Intrust Super Cup game on record, attracting an audience of 163, 178 across the state.
Fans from outside the metropolitan area soaked up the Pride’s success, with the 90, 291 viewers surpassing the regional record set during the previous week’s preliminary final between Easts Tigers and Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
This was the highest rating Cup match outside of a grand final with an audience of 120,457 in metro and regional markets, eclipsing both AFL finals matches in the Queensland market that weekend (Sydney v North Melbourne 62,991; Hawthorn v Port Adelaide 88,721).
Overall, the 2014 Intrust Super Cup delivered an increase of 3009 viewers, representing a 4.3 percent increase from last season.
Earlier in the year, more than four million watched Game 2 of the Holden State of Origin series between the XXXX Queensland Maroons and New South Wales Blues, making this the No. 1 ranked sport event on Free TV in 2014.
The opening game of the Origin series and the NRL grand final occupy the next two spots in an all rugby league top three on Free TV.
These extraordinary figures provide yet another example of rugby league’s significant reach and powerful engagement in Australian society; and further demonstrates that the popularity of the game plays a significant part in the growth of sport audiences on free-to-air commercial television.
A current review of official OzTAM and RegionalTAM ratings data for sport on commercial free-to-air television, shows 11.7 million Australians watch sport on commercial free-to-air television every week.
NRL State Championship Final – Northern Pride v Penrith Panthers:
· Channel 9 five capital and regional centres: 896, 330
· FOX Sports: 45, 932.
· Total: 942, 262
Intrust Super Cup
· Grand Final on Channel 9/WIN/NBN: 163,178.
· Highest rating Intrust Super Cup match.
· 90,291 in the regional market surpassed the record set during the previous week’s preliminary final for regional ratings.
· A season increase of 3009 viewers represented a 4.3% increase from last season.
State of Origin/NRL
· Top three sport broadcasts on Free TV
- Origin Game 2: 4, 188, 000 (Combined metro and regional audience)
- Origin Game 1: 4,093, 000
- NRL Grand Final: 3, 937,000