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Opening game breaks TV record

NRL.com Fri, Mar 08, 2013 - 5:30 PM

The 2013 NRL Telstra Premiership has kicked off in record style with the biggest ever Sydney crowd and television audience for a season-opener watching the Rabbitohs beat the Roosters.

More than 1.37 million viewers nationally watched the opening match of the NRL season across the Nine, NBN and WIN Networks, a seven per cent increase from the Thursday night season-opener between the Knights and Dragons in 2012 (1.28 million).

Sydney led the way with an average viewing audience of 560,438, up 16 per cent from 2012 (481,570).

The Sydney ratings are the highest for a season-opener since the OzTam ratings began in 2001.

The crowd of 35,952 is also the biggest for a stand-alone Round 1 Telstra Premiership match in Sydney.

In Brisbane, the average audience was 290,116, up 22 per cent from 238,329 in 2012, while in Melbourne 35,643 viewers watched the coverage on GEM.

“This just highlights the strength of Rugby League and how much people care about the game everywhere,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr Dave Smith, said today.

The Nine Network’s Head of Sport, Mr Steve Crawley, added: “The game is like the players themselves – it’s not about how many times you get knocked down, it’s about getting back up again.

“And Rugby League rose to some great heights on Thursday night.”